Simon Dawson Photography
By Kent Gray/Triathlon.kiwi
Dylan McCullough, Ainsley Thorpe, Tayler Reid and Nicole van der Kaay have been tasked with leading New Zealand to Oceania Mixed Relay Championship glory on Sunday.
They’ve been named in the NZL A team – one of seven Kiwi quartets set to take on the rapid-fire male, female, male, female, rinse and repeat 250m swim, 6km bike, 1.5 run relay in Taupo.
Van der Kaay will have the role of anchoring the A team after winning Oceania Cup Taupo on Saturday, her second Conti Cup sprint success in as many weeks after also triumphing in Wanaka. The best-placed Kiwi male in Taupo, Janus Staufenberg in second, has been placed in the NZ B team alongside Olivia Thornbury, Trent Thorpe and Brea Roderick.
Only the A team is eligible to win the continental title. Australia’s provisional A team is Jayden Schofield, Ellie Hoitink, Luke Schofield and Charlotte Derbyshire.
Sunday’s race is a unique learning opportunity for Tauranga-based Oliver Larcombe and Cambridge-based Will Taylor and Emily Irving who have had Rio 2016 Olympic champion Gwen Jorgensen co-opted in their line-up. The American will be adopted as a Kiwi for the day to give her another race ahead of World Cup New Plymouth on March 26.
Jorgensen made a spectacular return to the Blue Carpet after seven years out of the sport on Saturday when she finished third behind van der Kaay and Ainsley Thorpe. After Sunday. she’ll train in New Plymouth until the World Cup.
The Oceania Mixed Relay Championship takes the gun at 2.30pm on Sunday with a LIVE stream on Tri NZ’s Facebook page from 2:20pm.
New Zealand 1
Dylan McCullough, Ainsley Thorpe, Tayler Reid and Nicole van der Kaay
New Zealand 2
Janus Staufenberg, Olivia Thornbury, Trent Thorpe and Brea Roderick
New Zealand 3
Saxon Morgan, Hannah Knighton, James Corbett, Hannah Howell
New Zealand 4
Lachlan Haycock, Sarah McClure, Sam Parry, Olivia Cummings
New Zealand 5
Austin Carter, Anna Lindsay, Ivan Abele, Madison Keightley
New Zealand 6
Henry McMecking, Amara Rae, Luke Scott, Angharad Llewellyn
New Zealand 7
Oliver Larcombe, Gwen Jorgensen, Will Taylor, Emily Irving