RTS Warriors Go Big To Make American Triathlon Great Again: Team Revealed

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RTS have promised to bring short-course racing back to the fore in the USA – and their actions are already speaking louder than words.

While other teams have stacked their rosters with established world class talent, the RTS Warriors have been more keen to establish an identity – they are proudly USA.

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Their women’s field is incredibly strong, but their link-up with USAT’s Project Podium will see a host of young and inexperienced male athletes thrown in. Rather than worry about it, they are embracing it, promising they are the team for the future and for delivering in LA 2028.

Here, we take a look at the 2023 Warriors, the dynamics, and the burning questions.

Meet The team

Men: Chase McQueen, Seth Rider, John Reed, Marc Dubrik, Reece Vannerson, Carter Stuhlmacher

RTS are taking a real punt on their men’s line-up and backing themselves to develop talent.

So much is going to be on the shoulders of Chase McQueen as the most senior member of the team to step up and be a leader. Seth Rider is another with top level SLT experience and will again be under pressure to deliver beyond even what he has done before.

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The rest of the team could dip in and out a bit as well, as the RTS Warriors partner with USAT’s Project Podium to give young US male triathletes world class race experience that they cannot get elsewhere as they try and develop home medal potential for the LA 2028 Olympics.

Women: Taylor Spivey, Summer Rappaport, Katie Zaferes, Erika Ackerlund, Kirsten Kasper

In contrast to their men’s line-up, the Warriors have experience in abundance with their women, and some very big hitters.

Taylor Spivey is one of only a handful of athletes to compete across all five Championship Series, and last year’s runner-up will be a real factor this time out. Spivey was narrowly pipped to the title in NEOM by Georgia Taylor-Brown in 2022, but with the Brit absent through injury this could be her year.

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Summer Rappaport has plenty of SLT experience and all the tools to succeed in these formats while there’s a welcome return for Katie Zaferes. The two-time SLT champion is back after having her first child and is building towards another Olympic tilt. Kirsten Kasper also has plenty of SLT miles on the clock, meaning Erika Ackerlund is the only one making her full Series debut.

Team Dynamics

It’s a tale of two teams within a team.

For the women there is a lot in play. The US women have such strength in depth and fierce competition for spots on the Paris Olympic team. Cast your mind back to Tokyo where Taylor Spivey suffered the heartache of getting left out in favour of Katie Zaferes when it came down to the final selection.

There could be automatic qualification slots grabbed, but a pretty fair chance the selectors are going to have to get involved. Therefore, once again, every race will be critical, and especially in SLT formats which relate more closely to the mixed relay which is also part of the US equation. That, of course, begs the question of whether the RTS Warriors can truly be a team, or if they will also be competing with each other in a less healthy way?

The men are going to rely so heavily on Chase McQueen, and that will be interesting. McQueen is at a point in his career where he needs to turn his promise into even bigger results, but the final of Arena Games Triathlon in London has put him under more pressure than ever. The Warriors need him to be their leader of young athletes, and that is a new responsibility that could see him sink or swim.

Race Dynamics

On the women’s side it depends to an extent on the form of Katie Zaferes heading into the Championship Series.

We know Taylor Spivey will be strong across all three disciplines. Her run is her fractionally weaker leg, but her general consistency was what drove her to second place last time out. Summer Rappaport has a big swim and run, but struggles more on the bike. There have been recent signs of improvement, but the tight and technical courses of SLT will test that to the limit. Erika Ackerlund and the evergreen Kirsten Kasper provide so much extra firepower, but all eyes will be on Zaferes and her form, which could really shape the team’s dynamics given her incredible SLT record.

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For the men, McQueen will be firing from the front, with Rider a strong and willing bike partner, as witnessed by his previous Super League efforts on two wheels where he has earned a lot of bike discipline points. Much less is known about how the younger athletes will fare in this environment. One suspects that Nick Chase is a man with a plan, and acknowledging it may be hard for them to compete toe-to-toe for race podiums, he will likely hone in on hoovering up discipline points to keep the team competitive.

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