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Triathlon - 18. August 2007.

Elite Triathletes Set for Hamburg World Championships

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (August 16, 2007) --
The team consists of six athletes apiece on the male and female senior elite teams and three each on the male U23 team, female U23 team, male junior team, and female junior team.

"We are really excited to bring some new talent to World Championships this year and our veterans should be in contention for the medals," said Scott Schnitzspahn, Sport Performance Director for USA Triathlon.

The U.S. team will look to rebound from last year's performance when they were shut out of medals in all six races. The team hauled in a total of three medals in 2005.

The races will be split over three days, with the Juniors and U23s taking to the course on Friday, Aug. 31. The elite women will race Saturday, Sept. 1, with the elite men heading to the start line on Sunday, Sept. 2.

See more details - including a complete schedule.

Elite Women (Saturday, September 1)
The women will be looking to regain their spot atop the podium after missing out last year for the first time in five years. Since 1989, U.S. women have earned 15 top-three finishes at the World Championships. Three women have earned worlds gold (Karen Smyers in 1990 and 1995, Siri Lindley in 2001, and Sheila Taormina in 2004) in U.S. history.

Three of those recent podium finishes have been by Laura Bennett (N. Palm Beach, Fla. / Boulder, Colo.), who is back to compete on her eighth worlds' team. Bennett earned silver in 2003 and back-to-back bronze medals in 2004 and 2005. Her highlight win this year is without a doubt the Des Moines World Cup in June, where she took home a $200,000 paycheck and brand new Hummer H3.

Joining Bennett is an athlete who has had a breakout year in 2007. Julie Swail Ertel (Irvine, Calif.) has already captured her first elite national title and recently won gold at the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Swail, a 2000 Olympian in water polo and former age group overall world champion, is making her third appearance at elite worlds.

Sarah Haskins, the 2006 USAT Elite National Champion, has produced three top-four finishes at world cups this season and captured silver at the Pan Ams. She finished 21st in her first world championship in 2006.

Also making her second worlds' appearance is Sarah Groff (Cooperstown, N.Y. / Boulder, Colo.), who had her best world cup finish of 5th at Edmonton earlier this year and is the current Aquathlon World Champion.

The rookies on this elite team are 2006 USAT U23 National Champion Sara McLarty (DeLand, Fla. / Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Margaret Shapiro (Annandale, Va.). McLarty, unquestionably the fastest swimmer in the world of draft-legal racing, will play a key role in helping the U.S. get an early lead. Even though she's a rookie on this team, she brings years of experience on the world stage. She's been a member of two junior worlds teams, two U23 worlds teams, and has participated in world championships for swimming and lifeguarding. Shapiro also has past experience, taking home the overall age group world title in 2005.

U23 Women (Friday, August 31)
Jasmine Oeinck (Littleton, Colo. / Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Jennifer Spieldenner (Findlay, Ohio) were both on the team in 2006, with Oeinck earning a seventh place finish and Spieldenner placing 24th. They each also have two years' experience as members of junior worlds' teams. Joining the team for the first year is current USAT U23 National Champion Justine Whipple (Duxbury, Mass. / Colorado Springs, Colo.). A two-time and defending USAT Collegiate National Champion, Whipple just recently added a U.S. Armed Forces National title to her résumé. She competed on the world stage in 2006, placing 7th at the World University Games in Lausanne.

Junior Women (Friday, August 31)
Second-year worlds' team member Kate Ross (Doylestown, Pa.) leads this young group of athletes. She is joined by Lauren Goldstein-Kral (Shaker Heights, Ohio) and Meghan Lapeta (Downers Grove, Ill.).

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