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Triathlon World Age Group Championships
Madeira, Portugal
May 8, 2004

1.5K Swim - 40K Bike - 10K Run

Photos
Canadian Team in the Parade of Nations
Sherri Smith

Name            Group  Place  Swim    Avg   Place Tran1   Bike    Km/hr Place Tran2  Run   Min/km Place Time    Behind                                                                                           
Sherri Smith    F25-29  1/70  22:57  15:18    7    2:49  1:18:46  30.47   6   01:58  32:52  03:18    3  2:19:19   0:00
Eric Piscopo    M50-54 14/82  24:52  16:35   22    3:34  1:22:41  29.03  22   02:22  34:29  03:27    8  2:27:56  13:06

Sherri Smith also posted the fastest time of all the female age groups.

  
Saultite swims, bikes, runs way to world title
By Peter Ruicci for The Sault Star
Monday, May 10, 2004

Sault Ste. Marie has produced a world triathlon champion.

A tired, but elated Sherri Smith secured the age group championship Saturday at the 2004 International Triathlon Union World Championships in Madeira, Portugal.

The 28-year-old's time of 2:19:19 not only earned her first place in the 25-29 age class, it proved the best time for all women entered in the age group races.

The elite level competitors were scheduled to race Sunday.

"I'm thrilled. I came here to win and I was focused on that, but I'm still in shock," said Smith, shortly after completing the 1,500-metre swim, 40-kilometre bike race and 10-km run that make up the triathlon

"It hasn't sunk in yet."

Smith's winning time was a mere 31 seconds better that the second-place finisher, American Rahlves Shannon, in an event that included nearly 600 competitors from around the world.

The Sault's Eric Piscopo also took part, finishing 14th in the men's 50-54 age group with a time of 2:27:56.

"It got quite hot during the race," added Smith, who estimated temperatures reached 22C. "The sun was hot and I was extremely tired. The biking was either all uphill or all downhill. There were no flat straightaways."

Less than two years ago, Smith was 42nd overall and eighth in her age group at the 2002 championships in Cancun, Mexico.

But with the help of Dr. Hui Lee, a popular local physician who died suddenly on March 26, she was able to improve her swimming technique.

Lee had been a coach and competitor with the Soo Masters Polar Bears Swim Team at the time of his death.

"My swimming has really come on. He was my swimming coach and he brought me to the level I'm at," Smith said.

"I give credit to Hui. When the going got tough on the course today (Saturday), I thought about him."

When she finished her swim in Cancun, Smith was in 42nd place. Saturday, prior to her specialty, the run — she captured the 5,000 metres at the Canadian Track and Field Championships in 1999 — she left the water in seventh position.

With her next triathlon scheduled for June in Huntsville, Smith says she'll continue to purse her goal of becoming an elite triathlete.

These are the sport's professionals, those invited to compete in World Cup events.

"My immediate goal is to become a prominent elite racer," she said. "My long-term goal is to become the best in the world. What winning here means to me is that to make the jump into elite, you need reason behind your purpose. And now I've given them a reason (to invite me)."

Meet Sherri Smith, our new world champion
By David Helwig for SooToday.com
Saturday, May 08, 2004

On Feburary 17 of this year, local triathlete Sherri Smith made the following entry in her personal journal:

"My plans are to win the world championships for my age group (if not for the women's division). I train every day with this in mind."

The multi-talented 28-year-old Sault woman was talking about the 2004 Triathlon World Championships in Madeira/Funchal, Portugal.

Today in Portugal, Smith accomplished both her goals in the Olympic-distance age-group race.

Smith's combined time of 2:19:19 not only won the gold medal in her 25-29 age group, but also the overall women's divison title.

Fastest swim-to-bike transition

Sherri was in seventh place coming out of the 1.5-kilometre swim portion of the race, with a time of 22:57.

She ranked sixth in the 40km bike leg, completing it in 1:18:46.

And she placed third in her strongest event, the 10km run, at 32:52.

Triathlon races can be won or lost during the critical transitions between events.

Today, Smith had the fastest swim-to-bike transition of her age group, timed at 2:49.

Her bike-to-run transition was the twelfth fastest, in 1:58.

Inspired by Dr. Hui Lee

Here's another entry from Sherri's journal, this one from just last week:

"Next Saturday morning in Madiera, Portugal, when the race gun goes off, I will be carrying with me a heart that is stronger than this body. I will be carrying a mental picture of training partners, family, and friends back in Sault Ste. Marie. I will be carrying the overwhelming spirit of Hui Lee. I will carry with me years of hard work and determination. I will carry with me the lyrics of a song that inspires me. I will carry with me a destiny that has not chosen me but I it. I will carry with me all of this and it will not weigh me down but rather lift me higher."

As frosting on the cake of Smith's gold medal, the Sault's Eric Piscopo was also in Portugal today, placing 14th in the men's 50-54 age group with a time of 2:27:56.

To see where Sherri and Eric raced today, please click here.

A short history of Sherri

Sherri Smith became a Canadian champion five years ago, winning the women's 5,000 metres at the 1999 Canadian Track and Field Championships.

Also that year, Smith placed sixth in the U.S. NCAA Championships, in the 10,000 metres.

In 2002, the same year Smith first tried her hand at triathlon, she managed to finish eighth at the World Triathlon Championships in Mexico.

Last year, she placed fourth in the Subaru Challenge Triathlon Series.

Born in Sault Ste. Marie on February 19, 1976, Smith was considered a middle-of-the-pack runner when she started competing in elementary-school cross-country events.

Attended U.S. university on full scholarship

By the time she finished secondary school, however, she was no long a mediocre athlete.

In fact, she graduated with a full scholarship to Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

There, Smith achieved a Masters degree and no less than three Big 12 Athletic Conference titles, in the 5,000m, 10,000m and cross-country events.

During her senior year at Baylor, she finished either first or second in every race she entered.

Organizing triathlon on St. Joseph island

In recent months, Smith has been busy launching a new Sault Ste. Marie Sports Council.

Sports Council background

She's also been the driving force behind the First Annual St. Joseph Island Triathlon, scheduled for August 14, 2004.

That event will also include a duathlon and a Kids of Steel triathlon.

For more information, please click here.

Where's Sherri?

We need your help in spotting Sherri in this Big Picture of the Canadian triathlon team taken this week during the Parade of Nations in Madeira.

Is she hiding behind a camera?

Or she lurking somewhere in the middle of the pack?

Use your browser's scroll buttons to view the entire image, and if you spot Sherri let us know using SooToday.com's News Response feature.