With the morning storm having passed and the course drying out, 30 women took to the start line having negotiated the previous day’s Semi-Finals, Hungary’s own Zsanett Bragmayer wearing the no.1 as fastest qualifier but just one of a cast of medal contenders.
It was the home favourite and Miriam Casillas who were the first to emerge from three typically intense laps of the lake, the Aussie trio of Perkins, Jeffcoat and Natalie Van Coevorden right with them onto the testing 8-lap bike.
The leaders were soon joined by the likes of Vilic, Ilaria Zane (ITA) and Sophie Alden (GBR), while Erika Ackerlund(USA) and Brittany Dutton (AUS) found themselves stranded between packs and pushing to catch the leaders.
It proved impossible as the gap stretched and the nineteen-strong peloton clicked into an easy rhythm, nobody trying to roll the dice and pull away but all working well and looking to keep some gas for the run.
Bragmayer and Zsofia Kovacs were still giving the crowds plenty to shout about as they tucked in among the front runners out of T2 as another group, albeit now down to a more manageable seven, found their way into contention. The Hungarians then dropped off over the final lap before Natalie van Coevorden did likewise out on the final straight, leaving Jeffcoat, Vilic, Casillas and Perkins to go all out down the blue carpet.
Vilic nosed ahead, only for Jeffcoat to rally, powering in between the Austrian and Casillas to take the tape by a whisker, three seconds separating the top five in a fitting finish to a brilliant weekend of racing.
“To take that tape is so surreal,” added Jeffcoat. “It was one of my poorest swims and I was further back than I would have liked but I tried to just stay calm. I first came here in 2016 and my whole family came and I’ve always loved it so to top it off with a win is just great.
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