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“The hardest race I’ve ever done” – Katie Zaferes talks supertri E London

"That might have been the hardest race I've ever done" - Katie Zaferes talks about her supertri E debut experience

Chief Correspondent
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The USA’s Katie Zaferes has done almost everything in the sport, but found herself in new territory on Saturday.

Making her debut in the format, the 2019 World Triathlon Champion and Tokyo 2020 silver and bronze medalist took third place at the supertri E World Championship, won by Great Britain’s Beth Potter.

I spoke to her shortly after that final, to get her reaction on an intense day of racing.

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“Very painful”

When we spoke to Katie in her pre-race interview, she said that she expected her tactics to be quite simple – just go hard from start to finish. An impressive and relatively comfortable qualification performance meant that she didn’t have to go to the max on Saturday morning, so I asked if the finals provided what she expected… or perhaps feared?!

“I followed my strategy, and it was very painful… and that might have been the hardest race I’ve ever done. Especially on the bike, I was just really struggling to maintain any power. It didn’t come as naturally as I would say out on the roads for me, but I’m really happy with the result in the end.”

Katie Zaferes supertri E World Championship London 2024
[Photo Credit – supertri]

All pre-race predictions had this as a Potter vs. Beaugrand showdown given their performances here over the past three years, so given that, surely third place with no prior experience was a huge positive?

“For sure, I mean Beth and Cassandre I know what they’ve accomplished and what form they are in right now. I was 30 seconds behind so it wasn’t super close and it didn’t come down to a sprint finish for me or anything, but also, it was just good to see points of the race where I knew that it’s there.”

Turning doubts into strengths

So, what was the experience like of taking on something completely new? Katie admitted that she had to work hard mentally to provide her with the freedom to perform.

“This format really put me out of my comfort zone. I didn’t really consider doing this style of racing, but I was looking at all the wrong things – I don’t Zwift, I don’t run on the treadmill. But, I’m still strong, it is rounds based, you still have to be clean in your execution. I wouldn’t say today was my cleanest, and my transitions still need some work, but also there are still things that play to my strengths.

Katie Zaferes supertri E World Championship London 2024
[Photo Credit – supertri]

“So once I turned my brain to that side of things and stopped focussing on what was going to hold me back, it gave me the freedom. My mantra going into this finals was ‘let’s see what I can do’, and I think I did my best with that.”

Paris hopes

In a similar vein the the British women, the battle for qualification of the Team USA Olympic team – alongside Taylor Knibb – is an exceptionally tough one. Second recently at the World Triathlon Cup in Hong Kong, and third here (with World Cup level World Triathlon Ranking points), must surely have added to the decision to race.

“For sure. It’s a really stressful position to be in, because I know what every race means for my endeavour to get to Paris. That can be really hard, so every race means a lot and I think more than anything, just having these results and executing the race the way I did, no matter what happens, I’m proud of it.

“I can see where I’m getting to and I hope it’s in time for Paris, but if not, excited for whatever I have in the future I guess.”

Katie Zaferes supertri E World Championship London 2024
[Photo Credit – supertri]
John Levison
Written by
John Levison
TRI247's Chief Correspondent, John has been involved in triathlon for well over 30 years, 15 of those writing on these pages, whilst he can also be found commentating for events across the UK.

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