Elizabeth Bravo and William Huffman excelled in all three phases of the Sprint Triathlon held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, bringing home gold medals for Ecuador and the United States, respectively. The race was held on a day where the intense sun of the Caribbean proved to be a tough challenge for the athletes.

Along historic streets of the Colonial Zone that line the beautiful coast of Santo Domingo, triathletes from across the Americas raced to prove that they are the best in the region on Sunday, November 11.

It was a gorgeous and warm day in the Dominican capital, with the sun baring down on competitors during the dual event of the Santo Domingo 2018 CAMTRI Sprint Triathlon American Cup and Iberoamerican Championship.

The races began at the white sand beach of Playa Punta Torrecillas where athletes swam 750 meters. After completing the swim, the athletes raced up the beach to the transition zone where their prized bicycles awaited them.

Once on the bikes, the path of the race was akin to that of a historical tour of Santo Domingo, as the triathletes navigated the coastal roads that house the numerous historical forts and embattlements of the first city ever established in the Americas. 

The 20-kilometer course would take the athletes down George Washington Avenue and past the Macho Obelisk where the finish line awaited. However, the athletes were not done yet.

The riders ditched their bikes and donned their racing shoes while overlooking the Atlantic Ocean to begin the final leg of the Sprint Triathlon – the five-kilometer run. In the final stretch, athletes jockeyed for position in an effort to reach the podium or achieve a personal best time.

In the Elite Women’s race, Elizabeth Bravo of Ecuador outlasted the competition, finishing the grueling course in a time of 1:03:13. The silver medal went to Romina Biagioli of Argentina, while Beatriz Neres of Brazil took home the bronze.

“The truth is that it is always difficult to win, and I am happy to win a medal. This is why we train every single day. The weather was pretty good, and was not as hot as previous days, but the humidity is quite high in the Dominican Republic. The swimming was quite calm, in the cycling I stayed with the first group and running is what I do best, so I was able to take advantage,” Bravo told Panam Sports after receiving both of her gold medals on the podium.

She says she is now looking forward to the next editions of the Pan American Games and Summer Olympics. Bravo finished fourth at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games and hopes to make the podium next July in the Peruvian capital.

“I am sure I will be [in Lima next July], as long as I don’t have any accidents or injuries, I will be at the Pan American Games of Lima 2019. I will also go to the Olympic Games in Tokyo. They would be my third Games, and that is my main objective.”

On the men’s side, William Huffman of the United States was the first person out of the water, but had a little bit of ground to make up after the cycling section. He powered through the final stretch run to bring home a gold medal for Team USA with a time of 56:24. He was closely followed by Taylor Forbes of Canada who won the silver medal. Rounding out the podium with the bronze medal was Luciano Taccone of Argentina.

“The race was a lot of fun, I really enjoyed the venue and everyone was super nice. It has a great Caribbean feel here. But it was very hot. I wasn’t expecting it to be quite that hot, but the sun was really intense. I just made sure to hydrate really well and had two bottles on the bike and drank them both during the race and that helped out a lot during the run,” gold medalist William Huffman excitedly told Panam Sports after the race.

“This victory means a lot. This is actually my first professional win and I’ve been doing triathlons for almost a decade now, so this is an exciting day for me,” Huffman said, adding that he is now preparing for the Lima 2019 Pan American Games and Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

“I know this is going to be a World Cup year this coming year, and my goal is the 2020 Olympics, so you can expect me to be back next fall. Yeah absolutely I’ll be in Lima!”

It was a thrilling day of competition with conditions befitting the Caribbean island. Races were held in all categories and ages, with the youth competition kicking off the event as the sun rose in the capital city. 

The scenic route of the competition truly gave all the athletes a “race with a view”. 

But the Championship was just the beginning. Over the next 11 days, Panam Sports is organizing its latest Athlete Development Training Camp in conjunction with Americas Triathlon and the International Triathlon Union. 

Thirty-four athletes from 18 countries will learn the best techniques to train and race in order to prepare them for the upcoming Pan American Games next July in Lima, Peru, as well as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. 

Panam Sports is in Santo Domingo to provide coverage of the Championships and the Training Camp throughout the week. Follow @panamsports on social media and visit our website for photos and highlights from the events.