Michelle Mehnert's triathlon recap
Michelle Mehnert, a University of Illinois junior, member of the UI swim team and triathlete, competed in the Short Course Triathlon World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, on Sunday. She finished tenth in her age group. She has been writing a series of guest blogs about her training for the world championships. This is her recap of her race this past weekend.
Race Week! As much as you prepare for this week, nothing ever goes exactly to plan. My flight out got delayed before I had even checked in at O’Hare, resulting in a nine hour layover in London. I was able to get out of the airport and swim, but I didn’t get to my hotel in Budapest until 2 a.m. on Thursday morning! So much for getting used to the time change early…
It was quite a soggy and chilly weekend in Hungary, but everything else went according to plan. The race course cuts around all the landmarks of the capital, and was very cool to race on! I got to do a bit of sightseeing as I was preparing for the race, but come Sunday morning, it was all business.
We awoke to a cool and misty morning on race day in Budapest. The Danube was only 16 degrees Celsius (about 61 degrees Farenheit). Even with the cold, I still had an awesome swim! All my practice looking for buoys paid off, and I cruised into second place in the swim! I had a great bike, dropping nearly 15 minutes from my bike split last year. Even with the time drop, I lost some places on the bike, but I finished with another best split in my run, a 40:58 for 10K. My final time was 2:06.43, 22 minutes faster than my qualifying time for the race, placing me tenth!
After my race, I got a chance to watch some of the other Team USA athletes finish, before heading back to clean up my transition area and rest. At 2 p.m., the women’s Elite Grand Final started, so I went back to the finish area to cheer on our pros! It was awesome to watch! Laura Bennett was the first American with her eighth place finish, and Emma Snowsill of Australia took the title. I love watching Laura race; she has this huge smile the whole way!
I’m headed home now to be back in class on Tuesday, lots to homework to turn in! I’ll be racing again in two weeks down in Tuscaloosa, AL, to qualify for next year’s Worlds, and then back to full time swimming!
It’s been an exciting triathlon season for me; I got to see all my hard work pay with huge time drops and some great finishes. Competing on team USA was a great experience, and I’m already looking forward to when I’ll get to do it again. I also have to say a HUGE thank you to Coach Sue (Novitsky, head coach for the University of Illinois women’s swim team) for helping me train this summer, and the rest of the team for supporting me. This would not have been possible without their support! Also, a special thank you to everyone cheering for me back home!
Here's a link to the results from the Michelle's age group in the triathlon.
Below are photos from Budapest. They are: Michelle at the swim area; part of the race course, heading up to St. Stephen's Basilica; Michelle in front of the lions at the Chain Bridge; race morning; and American Laura Bennett in the women's Elite Grand Final.