With paratriathlon due to make its Paralympic debut the following year, competition was high at the 2015 World Championships as the athletes sought to be in peak condition for Rio.
The 2015 World Championships in Chicago were part of the 2015 ITU Grand Final in the city, with athletes competing over a 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run.
A dominant performance from Lauren Steadman saw her defend the PT4 world title that she’d claimed in Edmonton the year before.
As a former para-swimmer, Steadman’s best discipline was the swim, however, with a competitive field around her, knew that her bike and run would be tested.
Leaving the water with over a minute’s advantage on the rest of the field, she performed equally well on the bike and run legs to maintain that lead through to the finish.
After the race, Steadman said: “I know the swim is my strength, but you can’t just be a swimmer. I tried to hold them on the bike, then the head coach and my dad shouted that it had to be the best 5km of my life, and I had to have the right form and focus.
“Seeing the blue carpet of the finishing straight felt amazing. Really the standard has dramatically shifted, which is excellent for Paralympic sport.”
Finishing 90 seconds after Steadman, Grace Norman (USA) claimed second having passed Kate Doughty (AUS) on the run; the Australian stayed strong to earn the final position on the podium.
Former world champion, Faye McClelland, was the only other Brit in the race, finishing just off the podium in fourth place.
Like Steadman, Alison Patrick was also looking to defend her world title from the previous year, however, was beaten into second place by Katie Kelly (AUS) in the PT5 category.
The Australian had been on the rise having burst onto the scene earlier in the year, with the World Championships being her fifth consecutive gold medal.
Patrick and compatriot Melissa Reid led the way through the swim and bike legs, exchanging the lead throughout as they battled it out at the front.
Kelly made inroads and was able to pass the Brits on the run, moving clear and able to finish 29 seconds ahead of Patrick. Reid crossed the line in sixth.
Having moved to triathlon from the cerebral palsy England football team, Ryan Taylor put in a strong performance to claim the bronze medal in the PT2 category.
This was Taylor’s breakthrough race and, despite coming off on the bike, showed his potential, commenting after the race: “My run was awesome, and I’m delighted that I got third.”
Andy Lewis also competed for Great Britain earning a top-ten finish, crossing the line in ninth.
Lizzie Tench (PT1) also secured bronze for Britain in a highly competitive race, which saw Kendall Gretsch (USA) take gold and Emily Tapp (AUS) silver.
Britain was also represented in the men’s PT1 category by Phil Hogg and Joe Townsend, with the pair finishing sixth and seventh, respectively; and in the men’s PT4 category by David Hill, seventh, and George Peasgood, ninth.
The rest of the action from the 2015 ITU Grand Final will be covered in an additional Swim, Bike and Rerun as we look back on British performances in recent years.