Britain’s Jonathan Brownlee, showing little rust from seven months away from competition, pulled away on the run and captured the ITU World Triathlon San Diego on Saturday with a time of 1 hour, 48, minutes 46 seconds.
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Switzerland’s Sven Riederer was second in the event comprised of a 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run in 1:48:52, while Hunter Kemper and Manuel Huerta both qualified for the US Olympic team with fifth and ninth-place finishes, respectively.
”This is my first race of the year. I can’t believe it. I’m over the moon,” Kemper said. ”It’s a tremendous day for me. I didn’t know if I would actually be back here. I went through so much. . . . It’s been a struggle, but there’s no better feeling than representing the USA.
”Ultimately, you always want to settle it on a race course. You don’t want a selection committee to decide who’s going to the Olympic Games. I did that today and so did Manny.”
Kemper, who will be appearing in his fourth Olympics, was clocked in 1:49:17, while Huerta, who spent recent time living in a volcano in Costa Rica to get high altitude training, finished at 1:49:31.
Brownlee, who along with his brother, Alistair, will be favored in the London Games, broke away from South Africa’s Richard Murray in the second lap of the 10k run and finished the run in 30:01.
”We had to work really hard on the bike,” Brownlee said. ”It was different not having Alistair there because there were less aggressive people from the back. I found myself and Kris Gemmell (the 10th-place finisher from New Zealand) doing a lot of the work, but then on the run I went hard on the second lap.”
Murray, who is the overall leader in the world championship series, finished third in 1:49:02, just ahead of Mario Mola of Spain, who was clocked in 1:49:08.
”The Series leader has been something I’ve wanted to win for the past four or five years. It’s definitely an honor,” Murray said.
Americans needed to finish in the top nine in order to get spots on their US Olympic team.
”I never, never gave up on my dream,” Huerta said. ”I battled through so many downs and ups, like many athletes, but I knew that today it was special. I was racing in my new country and I wanted to make my dream come true. For many young Hispanics like me, who come to America with that dream, they stick to their dream and they never give up.”