LUKE Holmes’ season has continued to go from strength to strength, after the triathlete secured his first ever age-group victory at British Super Series level at Eton Dorney.
Fresh from his recent gold-medal triumph in the Commonwealth Youth Games, Holmes returned from Trinidad and Tobago to seal the age-group win, with a 13th place finish overall.
The 16-year-old raced alongside a familiar face in the shape of fellow Caesarean Ollie Turner.
The full-time triathlete is currently based in Cardiff and enjoyed a strong showing to finish in sixth overall from a starting field of 91.
In total, three athletes from the Jersey Triathlon Academy travelled to the mainland, as Siena Stephens and Seaena Silvester joined Holmes.
Racing consisted of multiple rounds over short distances, with the typical order of swim-bike-run alternated in each round and athletes ‘eliminated’ after each.
All events, although in a varied order, were comprised of a 350m swim, 4.7m cycle and 1.5km run.
Youth B athlete Holmes was first up with his age group, racing alongside the junior and seniors as part of British Triathlon’s pathway development designed to give younger athletes experience.
This saw Holmes face multiple senior Commonwealth Games 2022 athletes and professionals, including Cardiff-based Turner for the first time. An undaunted Holmes relished the challenge and in his morning qualifier he comfortably made the A group for the consecutive races to follow, in a heat won by Turner.
The next round saw the top 26 battle, with only the fastest 18 surviving the cut.
In a tightly packed field, Holmes scraped through in 18th, with only 15 seconds separated the first from 18th.
As the only Youth B athlete to survive, Holmes secured the age-group win with two rounds still to spare, but his impressive run continued to comfortably secure a top 13 finish to make the final round.
The final round saw a staggered start based on cumulative times from earlier rounds, thus the Caesarean had too much to do to claw back the time and finished 13th overall.
In the Youth A category, Stephens and Silvester both qualified for the top group comfortably, with both finishing 2nd in their respective qualifying rounds.
The following rounds saw a shock as Stephens suffered an unlikely elimination in 13th as she struggled with the change in discipline order, as her normally dominant swim came at the end.
Silvester, meanwhile, looked to have qualified comfortably, but a ten second penalty for a minor infringement in transition left the outcome uncertain before confirmation that she had qualified.
A strong finish in the final round saw her secure her fourth podium in a row, with Stephens consolidating for 15th position in the B final.
The Grand Final of the Super Series takes place at Mallory Park in Leicestershire later this month, with bonus points on offer.
Holmes finds himself ranked in joint second in the standings and with a strong chance of capping off a great season with overall series victory, while Silvester is up to a career-high third in the rankings.