Having completed her first event only last year, 18-year-old Crowhurst is set for her seventh paratriathlon race at the Volvo 2022 World Triathlon Para Series Swansea this weekend.
Crowhurst was a surprise gold medal winner of the women’s PTVI paratriathlon event at the Commonwealth Games along with guide, Jessica Fullagar.
Alison Peasgood was the pre-race favourite in Birmingham. She won silver in Rio and has claimed multiple European and World titles, but a crash in the wet conditions during the second lap of the bike put an end to her dreams of winning gold for Scotland.
The Canadian pair of Jessica Tuomela and Emma Skaug were well up the road, thanks to their head start based on Tuomela being completely blind compared with Crowhurst, who has some limited vision. Their lead was also thanks to some very strong cycling, but Crowhurst overhauled her and kept extending her lead. Her eventual margin of victory was just over four minutes from Chloe MacCombe and Catherine Sands (Northern Ireland) in second and Tuomela in third place.
“I’m still speechless,” said Crowhurst at the British Triathlon camp at Swansea University. “It’s not sunk in yet, but it was amazing and I’m really happy with the achievement.”
WTPS comes to Swansea
On Saturday, Swansea hosts a World Triathlon Para Series event for the first of three years. Crowhurst will be guided by Grace France, a highly experienced athlete who came from international level Modern Pentathlon and often worked with Peasgood, before retiring on health grounds.
Healthy again, she has worked closely with Crowhurst over the last year. Her role with British Triathlon is to help bring through development athletes, but Crowhurst’s progression has been so rapid, there’s already suggestion of needing to find someone else to fulfil the role in the lead up to Paris, particularly as Fullagar will race on the World Triathlon circuit as an elite athlete in her own right and will therefore no longer be eligible to guide.
Crowhurst said, “I’ve raced with Grace before so it’s not a new partnership. I’m used to Grace, and she’s used to me so it will be good to race again together.”
“This race will be a new experience and it will be great in Swansea to have another home crowd. It’s different competitors, as well as a few others that have come from the Commonwealths, so it will be good to see how it goes.”
A national record holder in the pool and part of the world class swimming programme, Crowhurst might not have come to triathlon if it hadn’t been for the loss of training and competition opportunity brought about by Covid lockdowns. Look out for Crowhurst to have another strong start during the 750m swim on Saturday.
France said: “She’s a really quick swimmer, and unfortunately that’s my weakest discipline of the three. I’ve been training hard this winter since racing with Katie for the first-time last year to try and push as hard as we can, working out how we best work together and where we position ourselves to go fast as a pair, not just individually.
“I’d like to say I’ve supported Katie quite nicely over the last year. I like to think I give her enough confidence across all three disciplines, but she’s learned everything technically so quickly, I think my job is done and I can officially retire soon! But I’m really looking forward to the race and hopefully we can go quicker than we have done before.”
Still waiting for her A-level results later this month, Crowhurst knows exactly what she’s training for next.
“I have the World Championships in Abu Dhabi, so that’s the next thing in November, then I’m aiming for Paris, so I’ll continue on with the training!”