USA Triathlon is excited to head to Chattanooga, Tennessee for the 2019 Clydesdale & Athena National Championships! Hosted in conjunction with the Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon, the sprint and Olympic-distance triathlons will take place along the Tennessee River in the heart of downtown Chattanooga, the “Best Adventure Town” in the US (as awarded by Outside Magazine in 2015).
The 2019 edition of the Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon celebrates 15 years in the heart of downtown Chattanooga, brought to you by Chattanooga Track Club and Team Magic. Be ready for a fast, down river swim, a spectator friendly two-loop bike course and a scenic run along the city’s Tennessee Riverwalk. This downtown triathlon takes the place of the popular Chattanooga Dam Triathlon of years past and the original Riverbend Triathlon from over 30 years ago. Traditionally an intermediate distance race only, a sprint distance was added in 2016, bringing an additional option for those new to the sport or those that prefer the shorter distance. The intermediate/Olympic-distance has held the honor of USAT Southeast Regional Championship many times in the past, and in 2018 served as the Mideast Regional Championship.
Cassidy Hickey of Parker, Colorado outsprinted Faith Dasso of New Braunfels, Texas and Hope Frost of Suffolk, Virginia to take the USA Triathlon Youth Nationals by 1 and 2 seconds respectively. In a very different scenario Andrew Flynn of Wilmette, Illinois ran away from Graham Tuohy of Lakewood, Colorado and Lawson McLeod of Tampa, Florida to win the Elite Boys Youth Nationals by 18 seconds in the super sprint format event in West Chester, Ohio Saturday.
On the 375 meter swim, 10 kilometer bike and 2.5 kilometer run course which operates under draft-legal rules, Hickey stacked the odds against her with a 5:49 swim split that left her in 23rd place and just under 30 seconds arrears in the second chase pack on the bike. Meanwhile Dasso, who started with a 5:39 bike split, surged to a solo lead which gave her a 10 seconds advantage at T2, followed by a 5-girl front chase pack. Hickey worked hard to join Hope Frost and rest of the lead chasers.
“On the bike, I wasn’t catching the pack as fast as I wanted to,” Hickey told USA Triathlon media. “With Faith pulling that front pack before she jumped, it was making it hard for me to catch, because she’s a really strong biker. Then when she jumped, it caused the pack to slow down quickly, which allowed me to catch.”
“I think it was definitely a mental game and would come down to who had it at the end,” Hickey told Slowtwitch. “Faith obviously went out on the run with a 10 seconds lead on me and I had a 4 second lead on Hope.”
Hickey said she was charging on Dasso, spurred on by Frost as they approached the final quarter mile. “I came up on Faith as we passed the team tents with 200 meters to go,” she said. “I still had a little bit of a lead on Hope – probably 4-5 seconds when she started surging. That is why I started moving on Faith for the finish. In the final 100 meters, Faith and I were right next to each other.“
At the finish, it was Hickey in 33:18, Dasso in 33:19 and Frost in 33:20. “It felt like I had a pretty good body length on Faith, said Hickey. “I didn’t have time to hold up the finish tape, so I ran right through it.”
Hickey is 15 years old and will begin her sophomore year at Highlands Ranch High School this month where she will be super busy. Hickey will compete in cross country, track and field, swimming and mountain bike racing. Hickey was running 5th in this race last year but was bumped to 8th due to a penalty. Hickey won her age group at USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals at ages 8, 10, 11 and 12.
While they live far apart, the girls on the podium consider themselves good friends thanks to years competing against one another on the USAT age group circuit. “Hope and I gave been racing together since we were 9 years old,” said Hickey. “I was happy she was able to snag the last spot on the podium. Faith also is a real close friend. We had a plan going into nationals and it worked out for the both of us.”