SLT Arena Games Triathlon Data: The Ironman Champion who kept getting faster and the dominant Brit

Rachel Klamer at the SLT Arena Games for Super League Triathlon

SLT Arena Games: top 10 stats

Graeme Acheson from Sports4Cast has crunched the numbers from the first ever SLT Arena Game sin Rotterdam and gives some data insights into what happened and where.


Transitions are the headline statistic. Transitions are always the underrated discipline in triathlon, but this was especially evident in SLT Arena Games with huge gains made here.

  • Generally in each of the swim, bikes and runs the fastest athlete gained between 5-10 seconds on the average athlete. In the transitions however, the fastest athlete gained between 4-8 seconds on the average athlete – nearly the same amount.
  • Given the relative length of transition compared to the traditional disciplines (20-30 seconds compared to 5 minutes) and the amount of effort required to gain these precious seconds, the advantage of a fast transition is clearly huge.

Valerie Barthelemy, Natalie van Coevorden and Georgia Taylor-Brown transition at the SLT Arena Games for Super League Triathlon

Learmonth Dominance

We thought Learmonth might do well given her Zwift numbers and known swim prowess – however she still outperformed even those expectations.

  • She had the fastest individual swim, bike and run splits as well as the fastest averages across all three disciplines in all three stages. Huge dominance.
  • As mentioned above we knew about her bike and swim talent but here she mainly won the stages with her run. She ran away from the group on all three stages, but undoubtedly the hardest would have been the last stage, where she had to hold out with a solo bike at the end.

Jessica Learmonth at the SLT Arena Games for Super League Triathlon

Polarising Debutants

Newbies Learmonth and Nieschlag won the female and male races, while other debutants Haug and Hillebregt brought up the rear.

  • Kingma lived up to the billing as a strong swimmer, recording the second fastest average swim times across the three stages.
  • Haug also showed evidence of her stamina – her fastest split was the last run of the day at 3:23, and most improved of all athletes. Perhaps she just needed another 10 or so triple mixes to show her true strengths!

Evenly Matched Men’s Field

The men’s race was extremely open, with the winner only known several minutes after the race had finished and the calculations performed. Justus Nieschlag emerged as the winner, taking the title after a huge 15 second power burst on the bike right at the end of stage 3, with only 0.692 seconds separating 8 athletes.

However, the winner could have been any of Brownlee, Schomburg, Nieschlag or Vilaca had the mass sprint finished in a different order.

  • Barefoot running was probably the highlight of the men’s race, with those athletes choosing to run barefoot saving around 5 seconds on their bike to run transitions.
  • Nieschlag was the best performer across all three transitions, although late call up, Vilaca could also lay claim to the title. He had the fastest run to swim transition, the second fastest swim to bike, but the slowest bike to run.
  • Arguably, had the sensational Vilaca chosen to run barefoot, he would have won the whole thing. Taking 5 seconds off his bike-to-run times would have gained him the points required for victory. This would have been quite a headline for the late call up!

Justus Nieschlag at the SLT Arena Games for Super League Triathlon

Power on the Bike

  • Jonny Brownlee was the fastest biker, with an average time of 5:17, and the fastest time overall of 5:11. However, Vilaca had the best power numbers, averaging 5.47 w/kg across the 3 bike stages. This was largely due to his and Gomez dual effort in the final stage requiring more effort compared to Brownlee’s 8 person pack – which had the faster time.

Jonathan Brownlee at the SLT Arena Games for Super League Triathlon

Can’t Split the Run

  • Gomez was the fastest runner in the field, averaging 2:49 across all three runs. The variation in the athlete’s times was very small however, with the top 6 separated only by an average of 6 seconds.

newsletter-close newsletter-close newsletter