The Last Draw
The Friday before race weekend is a tense affair, you can feel the change in atmosphere as the athletes forget all outside stimulus and laser focus on the effort to come. Final strategy tweaks are being implemented and everyone has their game face on. It’s kill or be killed now.
“Today is the day I hit all three sports with some intensity to wake the body up, so it remembers what it’s like to use the energy systems.” Tyler Mislawchuk
The madness begins with the Slot Draw. During the draw, the athletes, in ranking order, take turns to pick names out of the hat, assigning starting positions to their competitors. This weekend, the lower numbers will give easier starting positions due to the nature of the transition area. Co-founder Chris “Macca” McCormack floated the idea that staying out wide, if assigned a higher starting position, may well keep athletes out of trouble and give a less obstructed swim.
Women’s Slot Draw
Series leader, Katie Zaferes was up first. Zaferes placed Cassandre Beaugrand at position 19. If the predictions are to be believed, this position may not be a comfortable one for Beaugrand.
Subsequently, Zaferes’s fate was in the hands of Yuko Takahashi, with Takahashi being equally brutal and placing Zaferes in position 20. The two rivals will be starting right next to each other, fighting it out for position into the first turn. Summer Rappaport was also drawn by Takahashi, who again did not take any prisoners, placing the American at position 22. Summer quipped,
“there are no good spots on the pontoon – some are just worse than others.”
Rappaport was next, who decided that Rachel Klamer would start from position 3 on the pontoon.
Lastly, as luck would have it, Taylor Spivey drew her own name out of the hat, giving herself position number 1, and arguably the best chance at a clear run into the first turn.
Men’s Slot Draw
Series leader Vincent Luis drew 5th and 8th place athletes, Hayden Wilde and Tyler Mislawchuk, respectively. Strategically, Luis placed Wilde in position 12 in hope that he would get bogged down by the other swimmers, while putting Mislawchuk in position 1, by all accounts to fill up the good spots.
Luis himself was drawn by Wilde and will be starting in position 10, right in the middle of the action.
Henri Schoeman had to wait until the very end to learn where he would start. Drawn by Léo Bergere, Schoeman will be starting in position 13 on the pontoon. With the best swim in the field and chief rival Luis only starting two places away, Schoeman will have to go hard immediately to drop the Frenchman.
Richard Murray drew himself and decided to stay wide placing himself in position 21, stating
“I breathe right, so this makes sense for me.”
He’ll be looking for some space and to keep well out of the white water.
4th place athlete Jonny Brownlee was drawn by Schoeman and will start in position 4. Having stated a return to form, Brownlee may use this position to get a jump on his competitors. Could we see the Brit lead out of the swim to steal a march?
With that, the athletes head into Friday evening with time to think about their starting positions. They’ll be forming strategies, considering rivalries, and counting down the hours until the gun goes off. The stage is set, the dice loaded, and we are ready to explode all over Sentosa. Strap in and get ready for the greatest weekend of endurance racing anywhere on the planet!