CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Lance Fargo, Laura Crower, Jason Zinser and Nicole Dieckow earned overall victories Sunday at the USA Triathlon Clydesdale & Athena National Championships, as 12 total athletes earned national titles in their Clydesdale & Athena age groups. It was a day of familiar faces atop the podium, as Crower and Dieckow both successfully defended their overall titles from 2019 and five athletes reclaimed national titles in their age groups.
Clydesdale & Athena Nationals, which featured both sprint- and Olympic-distances, returned for a second year at the Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Clydesdale & Athena Nationals have been held as a standalone event on USA Triathlon’s National Championship calendar since 2014. The Clydesdale and Athena competitive divisions are based on weight minimums outlined in the USA Triathlon Competitive Rules. Men competing in the Clydesdale division must be a minimum of 220 pounds, and women in the Athena division must be a minimum of 165 pounds.
The sprint-distance race featured a 400-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run, while the Olympic-distance covered a 1,500m swim, 40k bike and 10k run. More than 100 participants toed the line, battling hot and humid conditions.
Crower (Sanford, Mich.) once again defended her Athena sprint-distance overall title in 1 hour, 10 minutes, 13 seconds, earning her fifth straight 39-and-under age group title in the process. Leslie Battle (Warwick, R.I.) was the second overall Athena across the line, winning the 40-54 age group, in 1:11:34. Rebecca Bell (Eaton Rapids, Mich.) was third overall for Athenas in the sprint, and second in the 39-and-under age group, in 1:16:49.
Ashley Miller (Urbandale, Iowa) took third in the women’s 39-and-under age group. She was the fourth overall Athena in 1:19:41, less than eight minutes back from Crower.
“For me, being in Athena it’s really important to come to a National Championship and to be represented,” Miller said. “Sometimes we feel like we are left out, like we don’t matter — and we do matter, we are fierce competitors, and we are here to race.”
Rhoda Miel (Ann Arbor, Mich.) claimed the women’s 55+ sprint-distance title, crossing the line in 1:27:01.
Fargo (Ocean View, Del.) crossed the finish line first for Clydesdales in the sprint race, clocking an impressive 1:01:32 to win both the overall title and the 40-59 age group. Michael Block (Durham, N.C) came in second overall in the Clydesdale sprint-distance, and first in the 39-and-under age group.
“Coming in it was a lot of training, wanting to put my best foot forward,” Block said. “Looking at previous results, I knew it would be a tough race, and I wanted to put all my effort into it on game day.”
Michael Neff (Carroll, Ohio) was the third overall Clydesdale in the sprint-distance, taking second for men 40-59, with a time of 1:04:03.
Brian Buzzard (Nashville, Tenn.) was the fourth overall Clydesdale and second in the 39-and-under age group in the sprint-distance, with a time of 1:05:05. “Today, the weather was perfect,” Buzzard said.
The men’s 60+ title went to William Morrow (Ada, Mich.) in 1:20:08.
In the Olympic-distance race, Dieckow (Anniston, Ala.) defended her crown as the first Athena across the line in 2:26:53, winning the women’s 40-54 title once again. Sharon Deane (Knoxville, Tenn.) took first in the Athena 39-and-under age group and was the second overall Athena in 2:32:35.
“It was a really good race,” Deane said. “I had a good bike and fell apart on the run, but I guess you can expect that with how hot it was. It was a great event, and I had a lot of fun.”
Jennifer Blauvelt (Kalona, Iowa) was the third overall Athena across the line in the Olympic-distance race, taking second for Athenas ages 40-54 with a time of 2:44:39.
Winning the Athena 55+ Olympic-distance title was Julie Emery (Menomonee Falls, Wis.) with a time of 3:35:44.
The overall Olympic-distance Clydesdale title went to Jason Zinser (Nashville, Tenn.) with a time of 1:55:10. With that performance, Zinser also won the men’s 39-and-under age group.
“Chattanooga and Team Magic always provide a great race, Zinser said. “We couldn’t have asked for better weather today, as well as volunteers and supporters who make everything run smoothly on race day. We were all set up to win in the beginning, and that’s all thanks to the race organizers and the volunteers here.”
The second overall Clydesdale in the Olympic-distance race was Tilman Achberger (Kansas City, Mo.) in 2:31:02.
Paul Costa (Nashville, Tenn.) was the third overall Clydesdale across the line in 2:31:20, taking the men’s 40-59 age group title in the process. Winning the men’s 60+ category was defending champion William Jankowski (Danville, Ind.) in 2:43:38.
2021 USA Triathlon Clydesdale & Athena National Championships
Sprint-Distance | Complete Results
400m swim, 20k bike, 5k run
Overall Clydesdale: Lance Fargo (Ocean View, Del.), 1:01:32
Overall Athena: Laura Crower (Sanford, Mich.), 1:10:13
Clydesdale 39 & Under: Michael Block (Durham, N.C.), 1:03:27
Athena 39 & Under: Laura Crower (Sanford, Mich.), 1:10:13
Clydesdale 40-59: Lance Fargo (Ocean View, Del.), 1:01:32
Athena 40-54: Leslie Battle (Warwick, R.I.), 1:11:34
Clydesdale 60+: William Morrow (Ada, Mich.), 1:20:08
Athena 55+: Rhoda Miel (Ann Arbor, Mich.), 1:27:01
Olympic-Distance | Complete Results
1,500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run
Overall Clydesdale: Jason Zinser (Nashville, Tenn.), 1:55:10
Overall Athena: Nicole Dieckow (Anniston, Ala.), 2:26:53
Clydesdale 39 & Under: Jason Zisner (Nashville, Tenn.), 1:55:10
Athena 39 & Under: Sharon Deane (Knoxville, Tenn.), 2:32:35
Clydesdale 40-59: Paul Costa (Audubon, Penn.) 2:31:20
Athena 40-54: Nicole Dieckow (Anniston, Ala.), 2:32:28
Clydesdale 60+: William Jankowski (Danville, Ind.), 2:43:38
Athena 55+ Julie Emery (Menomonee Falls, Wis.), 3:35:44
About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,000 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors — as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation — USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including World Triathlon Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of World Triathlon and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).