Daniela Ryf was at her brilliant best at the Collins Cup – in stark contrast to her experience of the inaugural event 12 months earlier.
The Swiss star got Team Europe off to a flying start in the first match, the current IRONMAN World Champion seeing off reigning Olympic champ Flora Duffy and American Sarah True.
Her time of 3:28:50 for the 100km race was also the first time a woman has gone under 3:30 at the PTO’s flagship event.
‘A complete athlete again’
It set up an emphatic title defence for Europe, but on a personal level it helped banish the memories from 12 months earlier when she suffered a shock defeat as she clocked 3:46:52 and finished over 15 minutes behind Taylor Knibb.
Reflecting on the 2022 and 2021 versions, she explained: “It feels really, really amazing to be coming back after last year. I could perform well in all three disciplines so that’s a great feeling. I feel like a complete athlete again and healthy so yes, I’m really pleased. I couldn’t have had a better day.
“Last year I raced being sick. I had blisters all over my legs, I had the shingles three days before the race, so I raced with that and obviously you can’t really race well.
“This year I went for a jog and my heart rate was about 30 beats lower just jogging and I knew it was going to be a good day.”
It also sets her up perfectly for the defence of her IMWC crown as she bids to add success in Hawaii to her St George victory in May.
“You have to be healthy to perform well. I’m really glad I’m healthy and fit and definitely that’s a big statement for now and I’m feeling ready for Kona. It’s a good feeling.”
Ryf was to the fore from the outset, staying in touch with Duffy on the swim before taking full control on the bike.
She explained: “It was important to be in the mix. I knew Flora was going to be strong and I know Sarah is also a really good swimmer so to almost keep up with them was a perfect start for me.”