Clydesdale & Athena athletes at the Olympic-distance awards ceremony.
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Brian Buzzard, Laura Crower, Ryan Barnett and Nicole Dieckow earned overall victories Sunday at the USA Triathlon Clydesdale & Athena National Championships, as 12 total athletes earned national titles in their age groups. Clydesdale & Athena Nationals, which featured both sprint- and Olympic-distances, was held as part of the Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon in Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the first time.
Clydesdale & Athena Nationals have been held as a standalone event on USA Triathlon’s National Championship calendar since 2014. The Clydesdale and Athena competitive divisions are based on weight minimums outlined in the USA Triathlon Competitive Rules. Men competing in the Clydesdale division must be a minimum of 220 pounds, and women in the Athena division must be a minimum of 165 pounds.
More than 130 of the best amateur Clydesdale and Athena triathletes in the nation competed Sunday. The sprint-distance race featured a 400-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run, while the Olympic-distance covered a 1,500m swim, 40k bike and 10k run.
Buzzard (Flagstaff, Ariz.) was the first man across the line in the sprint race, finishing in 1 hour, 2 minutes, 12 seconds to win both the overall Clydesdale title and the 39-and-under age group. Buzzard said that while he enjoyed the fast, down-river swim, the bike is where he made his move — clocking a race-leading 32:06 on the 20k course.
“This is a gorgeous venue,” Buzzard said. “Swimming in the river was kind of cool. I think the biggest thing was knowing that the swim here was going to be pretty fast, so I probably spent more time and emphasis training on the bike because it would be more important this year.”
Ryan Phillips (South Burlington, Vt.) was the fifth overall Clydesdale in the sprint-distance, earning the 40-59 title in 1:05:58. The men’s 60+ title went to Michael Smallcombe (Nashville, Tenn.) in 1:16:48.
Crower (Sanford, Mich.) successfully defended her overall Athena sprint-distance title in 1:07:33, earning her fourth straight 39-and-under age group title in the process.
CC Rowe (Austin, Texas) earned her second straight sprint-distance title in the women’s 40-54 age group. She was the second overall Athena in 1:13:01, less than six minutes back from Crower. Julie Emery (Menomonee Falls, Wis.) also defended her age-group victory, taking the women’s 55+ age group with a time of 1:34:03.
In the Olympic-distance race, Dieckow (Anniston, Ala.) was the first Athena across the line in 2:32:28, winning the women’s 40-54 title in the process. Dieckow’s victory comes just four months after being diagnosed with a hip stress fracture.
“A month ago, I got cleared to run again — so this is like a big miracle in a weird way to be able to actually make this accomplishment and do this today,” Dieckow said. “Lucky for me, my doctor said I could swim as much as I wanted and I could bike, but not too hard. I did the Stairmaster; I did the elliptical as much as I could just to get that cardio for running. If you want it, you’ve just got to go out and do it.”
The women’s 39-and-under Olympic-distance victory went to Sharon Deane (Knoxville, Tenn.). Deane was the second overall Athena in 2:32:35, finishing just 17 seconds behind overall champion Dieckow. Rhoda Miel (Ann Arbor, Mich.) claimed the women’s 55+ Olympic-distance title for the third straight year, crossing the line in 3:20:18.
The overall Olympic-distance Clydesdale title went to Barnett (Libertyville, Ill.) with a time of 2:05:39. With that performance, Barnett also won the men’s 40-59 age group.
Jason Zinser (Nashville, Tenn.) was the second overall Clydesdale across the line in 2:11:16, taking the men’s 39-and-under title in the process. Winning the men’s 60+ category was William Jankowski (Danville, Ind.) in 2:43:34.
2019 USA Triathlon Clydesdale & Athena National Championships
Sprint-Distance | Complete Results
400m swim, 20k bike, 5k run
Overall Clydesdale: Brian Buzzard (Flagstaff, Ariz.), 1:02:12
Overall Athena: Laura Crower (Sanford, Mich.), 1:07:33
Clydesdale 39 & Under: Brian Buzzard (Flagstaff, Ariz.), 1:02:12
Athena 39 & Under: Laura Crower (Sanford, Mich.), 1:07:33
Clydesdale 40-59: Ryan Phillips (South Burlington, Vt.), 1:05:58
Athena 40-54: CC Rowe (Austin, Texas), 1:13:01
Clydesdale 60+: Michael Smallcombe (Nashville, Tenn.), 1:16:48
Athena 55+: Julie Emery (Menomonee Falls, Wis.), 1:34:03
Olympic-Distance | Complete Results
1,500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run
Overall Clydesdale: Ryan Barnett (Libertyville, Ill.), 2:05:39
Overall Athena: Nicole Dieckow (Anniston, Ala.), 2:32:28
Clydesdale 39 & Under: Jason Zisner (Nashville, Tenn.), 2:11:16
Athena 39 & Under: Sharon Deane (Knoxville, Tenn.), 2:32:35
Clydesdale 40-59: Ryan Barnett (Libertyville, Ill.), 2:05:39
Athena 40-54: Nicole Dieckow (Anniston, Ala.), 2:32:28
Clydesdale 60+: William Jankowski (Danville, Ind.), 2:43:34
Athena 55+ Rhoda Miel (Ann Arbor, Mich.), 3:20:18