Heat's up for Sentosa finale

Katie Zaferes beginning her swim in Malta where she won the gold medal after topping both the equaliser and eliminator categories. The American is aiming for a medal at next year's Tokyo Olympics.
Katie Zaferes beginning her swim in Malta where she won the gold medal after topping both the equaliser and eliminator categories. The American is aiming for a medal at next year's Tokyo Olympics.PHOTO: SUPER LEAGUE TRIATHLON

American triathlete Zaferes targets a good showing at S'pore leg of Super League series

Katie Zaferes expects the Feb 23-24 Super League Triathlon finale in Sentosa to be hot and humid, and highly competitive.

But the current top-ranked triathlete would not have it any other way as she looks to defend her lead in the inaugural series and prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

"I need to be able to compete against the best people in my sport under stressful circumstances in any type of weather and different types of courses," she told the media in Singapore over a conference call on Tuesday from Santa Cruz, California, where she is based.

"All these things are in the Super League so racing the series will make me stronger," she said, adding that the "faster" races will improve her speed and endurance as she has races on both days.

The eliminator race on Feb 23 has three stages, each comprising a 300m swim, a 5km bike ride and a 2km run, with a 10-minute break between each race.

The top 15 in the first stage advance to the next stage, where they will compete to be among the top 10 for the third and final stage.

The next day, the enduro has three continuous rounds, each with a 300m swim, a 5km bike ride and a 1.6km run.

The public can take part in either the team enduro or fun run events, racing the same course at One15 Marina as the professionals.

"Singapore is an added bonus because of the weather. Tokyo is projected to be one of the hottest and (most) humid races," said Zaferes, who was 18th in her Olympic debut in Rio three years ago.

"It's great to be able to train for both of these things at the same time and see what works and what doesn't."

Average temperatures in Tokyo in the summer months typically range from 23 to 31 deg C.

With Singapore's temperatures in February expected to range from 24 to 33 deg C, the 29-year-old said the key is hydration. She said: "It's way easier to recover and perform if your body has the right amount of fluids so hydration will be really important in Singapore."

But the American believes it will be the little things, like maintaining race positions during transitions, that determine the outcome.

"I just make sure I'm preparing myself to hit each of these targets," she said. "If I hit them, hopefully the outcome will be whatever I'm hoping for."

Zaferes tops the overall standings with 71 points after she won in Jersey and Malta and was second in Mallorca - ahead of compatriot Kirsten Kasper (54) and Rachel Klamer (40) from the Netherlands. Vincent Luis of France, on 75 points, leads the men ahead of Henri Schoeman of South Africa (63). The March 23-24 Bali event is a qualifier for next season.

Her ultimate goal is to win a medal in Tokyo. She said: "It will most likely be my final Olympics if I qualify. I'd like to finish in a way that I'd be proud of and feel like I've nothing left to prove."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 24, 2019, with the headline 'Heat's up for Sentosa finale'. Print Edition | Subscribe