The race was also an International Triathlon Union Continental Cup race, seeing some international competitors on the start line although none were eligible for the New Zealand Championships.
In the women’s race Samantha Warriner showed an amazing turnaround from a disappointing 27th finish at Mooloolaba.
“Wow, what a race and what a transformation from last week,” Warriner said.
“After last week I made changes to my nutrition and ate more in the days leading up to the race. Clearly it worked, I felt strong all day despite a rough swim and taking a little time to find my rhythm on the bike.”
Warriner was almost 45 seconds down on the lead group early in the bike leg but at no time did she panic and took the lead not long into the run.
“The wind made the bike treacherous and at times it was all I could do to hang on, especially around some of the tight turns. But once we closed the gap towards the end of the bike I felt like it was my day. I lead at the first run turnaround and then concentrated on a gradual increase in pace and the lead. I felt really strong.”
Warriner was a comfortable winner from Americans Sara McLarty and Jasmine Oeinck, with kiwis Andrew Hewitt and Nicky Samuels rounding out the top five.
In the women’s field Sarah Bryant [Dunedin] took out the under-23 title with Anna Hamilton [Auckland] in second and Kelly Bruce [Auckland] in third.
Their top three finishes see each athlete earn a spot at the under-23 World Championships in Hamburg in August.
National Series winners decided
Today’s race also saw the overall winners of the inaugural Contact Energy National Triathlon Series decided, with Christchurch’s Gina Ferguson taking out her respective title.
24 year-old Gina Ferguson said after dominating the National Series with five wins from seven starts she’s turning her attention to longer distance racing.
“My next race will be Xterra in two weeks time after which I’ll be heading overseas for a couple of longer distance races,” Gina said.
“I’m really pleased to have the National Series title.”
1. Samantha Warriner (NZL - Whangarei) 2.09.06*
2. Sara McLarty (USA) 2.10.28
3. Jasmine Oeinck (USA) 2.10.29
4. Andrea Hewitt (NZL - Christchurch) 2.10.30*
5. Nicky Samuels (NZL - Whangarei) 2.11.39*
6. Mary Beth Ellis (USA) 2.12.24
7. Sarah Groff (USA) 2.12.29
8. Taryn McLeod (NZL – Dunedin) 2.15.36*
9. Merja Kiviranta (FIN) 2.16.23
10. Melanie Sexton (AUS) 2.16.24
A Gutsy performance from both sides