COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Eight rising stars on the United States' triathlon scene will compete against nearly 100 of the world's top up-and-coming multisport athletes Saturday at the International University Sports Federation's (FISU) 11th World University Triathlon Championship in Yilan County, Chinese Taipei.
The draft-legal, Olympic-distance race features a 1.5-kilometer swim, 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run.
Action kicks off Saturday with the women's race featuring Jessica Broderick (University of Colorado; Boulder, Colo.), Julie Rechel (University of Richmond; Richmond, Va.) and Kaitlin Shiver (University of Florida; Gainesville, Fla.).
Slated to compete for the U.S. men are: Ryan Bice (University of Colorado Colorado Springs; Colorado Springs, Colo.), Chris Braden (University of Colorado; Boulder, Colo.), Kalen Darling (Whitworth University; Spokane, Wash.), Dustin McLarty (University of California-Irvine, Irvine, Calif.) and Jason Pedersen (Northern Arizona University; Simi Valley, Calif.).
Bice and Braden finished fourth and sixth, respectively, at 2012 USA Triathlon Collegiate Nationals, while Darling was the 2010 USA Triathlon under-23 national champion. One of the top swimmers in the sport, McLarty makes his second trip to the FISU World University Championship after finishing first and second at 2012 and 2011 Collegiate Nationals, respectively. Pedersen, a standout runner in college, is coming off a career-best sixth-place finish at the June 2 Dallas ITU Pan American Cup.
In addition to men's and women's individual winners, there will be a team champion for each gender. In order to be eligible, athletes must be between the ages of 18-28 on Jan. 1, 2012. Additionally, athletes must be a current college student or have received a degree in 2011.
Led by runner-up Gwen Jorgensen, who was competing in just her second competitive triathlon, and Broderick, the U.S. women finished second in the team standings in 2010. In 2008, the U.S men won the silver, while the women brought home the bronze.
Photo: Kaitlin Shiver (left) will compete in Saturday's FISU World University Championship. (Janos Schmidt/ITU)