The Collins Cup Captains Picks confirm the final athletes set to race for Team Europe, US and Internationals at the first-ever Collins Cup.
Each pairing of Collins Cup Captains had the chance to add two men and two women to their automatically qualified team members – whether from highly-ranked athletes who just missed out on automatic selection, athletes who’ve impressed with a big performance or complete wildcards.
The Collins Cup Captains Picks were announced on GTN in the video below.
Team Europe Captains Picks
For the Team Europe men’s picks, captains Natascha Badmann and Normann Stadler added Ironman 70.3 Dubai winner and all-round super athlete Daniel Baekkegard (PTO #10) and two-time 70.3 World Champion and 2014 Kona champ Sebastian Kienle (PTO #19).
While Kienle isn’t ranked as highly as other European athletes such as George Goodwin (PTO #13) or Magnus Ditlev (PTO #15), he’s a class performer on big days, has raced well in Samorin before and is the subject of the PTO’s Beyond Human Collins Cup documentary.
On the women’s side, there were no surprises with two big hitters being called up. Emma Pallant-Brown (PTO #7) has been in fantastic form this season and dominated in Boulder last weekend. Meanwhile, Kat Matthews (PTO #9) just keeps getting better, coming a close second to Daniela Ryf at Ironman Tulsa and winning Ironman UK.
Team US Captains Picks
The big news for the Team US picks was captains Karen Smyers and Mark Allen picking a pair of Olympians to bolster the strength of the US women. Katie Zaferes might not have completed a qualification race but the 2019 World Triathlon Champion and Tokyo 2020 Bronze and Silver medallist is an absolute powerhouse that could send many of the best athletes from Team Europe and Team Internationals ducking for cover.
Zaferes will be joined by fellow Silver medallist from the USA mixed relay team, Taylor Knibb. An athlete with long-course aspirations for a long time, Knibb finally got her start at 70.3 Boulder coming second between Emma Pallant-Browne and her training partner Jeanni Metzler. Could we see a rematch for these three in Samorin?
For the men, Chris Leiferman (PTO #12) was the first to get the nod. A quality performer, the BMC Pro Triathlon Team athlete came fourth at Challenge Miami in March.
In terms of points, the next athlete in line would be 2019 Kona runner up Tim O’Donnell. However, with his recent video on the heart attack he suffered during Challenge Miami, it’s no surprise he’s not been picked.
That leaves the way clear for Justin Metzler (PTO #54) to join his wife Jeanni at the event, which could cause some friction as the two are racing for different teams! Metzler had a breakthrough race at IM Coeur d’Alene coming second to Sam Long and also took fifth at 70.3 Boulder last weekend.
Team Internationals Captains Picks
For the Team Internationals women, captains Lisa Bentley and Simon Whitfield stuck with the rankings, selecting Sarah Crowley (PTO #13) and Ellie Salthouse (PTO #16). Crowley took the win at 70.3 Ecuador recently and while her other results this season haven’t been up to her usual standard, the Aussie is a proven performer for the big days having been third in Kona on two occasions.
Australia’s Salthouse must’ve been an easy pick for the captains considering she’s won all five events she’s raced this year and has the full swim, bike, run package.
The Captains Pick additions to the men’s side of the team are Jackson Laundry (PTO #26) and Kyle Smith (PTO #27). Canada’s Laundry, who’s made his desire to race for Team Internationals clear, has had a great season with five top-five finishes including the win at Ironman 70.3 Ecuador.
Kiwi Kyle Smith has two native middle distance wins this season and also came fifth at the 70.3 European champs in Elsinore in a highly competitive field.
The Match Draft Draw
All that now remains is to find out who will face who. The Match Draft Draw will take place as part of the Collins Cup Opening Ceremony on Wednesday 25 August, which gets underway at 18:00 CEST and will be streamed live on the Collins Cup website.