Taormina and Zieger Earn Spots on 2000 Olympic Triathlon Team

<strong>Taormina (shown here at the April 30 Worlds), kept pace with Lindqusit before pulling away on the run.</strong><br><br>Credit: Tony McDonough/Allsport

[Editor's Note: This article was originally published in May, 2000.]

Sheila Taormina and Joanna Zeiger battled heat, humidity and stiff competition at the USA Triathlon Olympic trials May 27 in Dallas to claim the last two spots on the Olympic team.

They join Jennifer Gutierrez, who qualified for the Olympic team in April due to her top American finish (7th overall) at the ITU World Cup in Sydney.

?Olympic Triathlon Trials: men's race

Taormina, who competed in the 1996 Atlanta Games on the swim team and earned a gold in the 800-meter freestyle relay, was ranked 48th going into the race. She crossed the line at 2:05:27.

Joanna Zeiger finished about a minute behind at 2:06:17. Siri Lindley took third at 2:07:35 and will be an alternate to the team.

Barb Lindquist, who was ranked fifth in the world and first in the U.S. going into the race, had a strong swim and bike but struggled with the heat and dropped out on the second lap of the run course.

Lindquist had counted on working with training partner Nicole Hackett on the draft-legal bike course during the race, but since Hackett was a no-show, Lindquist worked out a plan with Taormina.

Taormina and Lindquist held about a one-minute lead during the swim in Lake Carolyn. Following their plan, they worked together to extend their lead to a minute and a half on the first lap of the bike course.

The chase group of 13 women, including Zeiger, Gutierrez, Lindley and Laura Reback had trouble getting organized. The pack fell nearly four minutes behind the leaders coming into T2.

Taormina started the run knowing she didnt have to go all out, thanks to the cushion she and Lindquist had build during the bike. Taormina held on steadily up the hills as Lindquist faded in the heat.

Seeing her struggle on the second lap of the run course, Lindquists husband and coach Loren Lindquist convinced her to pull out. Loren later filed a complaint with race organizers stating there was improper aid on the course due to the lack of ice and sponges for the competitors.

Meanwhile, Zeiger pulled away from the pack and made up for time lost on the bike with the fastest run split of the day at 38:00. This was the third Olympic trials for Zieger, who competed in the 1988 Olympic swim trials and the Olympic marathon trials in February, which took place on another hot and humid day.

Karen Smyers, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in December, finish seventh with the second fastest run of the day (39:17) after a disappointingly slow swim. If all goes well with her radioactive iodine treatment in the coming weeks, she plans to be at the starting line for the Hawaii Ironman in October.

USA Triathlon Olympic Team Trials, May 27, 2000 --?Dallas, Texas
1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run

1. Sheila Taormina (Livonia, Mich.), 2:05:27
2. Joanna Zeiger (Baltimore, Md.), 2:06:17
3. Siri Lindley (Boulder, Colo.), 2:07:35
4. Laura Reback (N. Palm Beach, Fla.), 2:07:53
5. Jennifer Gutierrez (San Antonio, Texas), 2:08:08
6. Susan Bartholomew (Littleton, Colo.), 2:08:42
7. Karen Smyers (Lincoln, Mass.), 2:08:42
8. Gina Kehr (Santa Clara, Calif.), 2:09:34
9. Juliana Nievergelt (Medfield, Mass.), 2:09:44
10. Jill Newman (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 2:10:24
11. Amanda Pagon (Satellite Beach, Fla.), 2:10:45
12. Anneliese Heard (Great Britain), 2:11:42
13. Lauren Jensen (New Berlin, Wis.), 2:11:42
14. Pamela Birsinger (Atlanta, Ga.), 2:13:18
15. Gail Laurence (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 2:13:48
16. Martha Sorensen (Whatley, Mass.), 2:14:08
17. Maryellen Powers (Dover, N.H.), 2:15:32
18. Julie Ricketts Dibens (Great Britain), 2:15:36
19. Callahan Hatfield (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 2:17:37

Barb Lindquist (Jackson Hole, Wyo.)
Susanne Martineau (Carlsbad, Calif.)
Kristin Armstrong (Boise, Idaho)
Gina Derks Gardner (Davie, Fla.)
Iona Wynter (Jamaica)
Marci Steelman (Santa Barbara, Calif.)
Katie Webb (Oceanside, Calif.)
Karen Dehmal (Greenwich, Conn.)
Becky Gibbs (Minnetonka, Minn.)

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