Carley Grove admits being overwhelmed by the hoopla surrounding the Age Group World Championships triathlon, which took place in London this past Sunday.
But once the race began, Grove, 17, of Grand Haven, did what she does best. Grove turned in a personal-best time on a difficult course to place 12th in her age group at the prestigious event, which featured thousands of athletes from around the world.
“I was definitely nervous,” said Grove, a senior at Grand Haven High School. “This is the biggest race I’ve ever done. I was really excited, watching all the races all week, getting a feel for the course.”
Grove competed in the Olympic distance event, which includes a 1.5K (just short of a mile) swim; a 40K (25 mile) bike ride; and a 10K (6.2 mile) run.
She finished the swim course in 16 minutes; the bike in 1 hour, 28 minutes, 43 seconds; and the run in 58:06.
“It was a tough course, lots of turns, really windy, very technical, but it was very fun,” Grove said. “It was awesome racing in London, representing the United States, wearing the Team USA uniform.
“I finished pretty well. I took 10 minutes off my personal-best time.”
Grove qualified for the World Championships a year ago. First, she qualified for the national meet, which was held last August in Vermont. The top 18 finishers in each age group in that race then advanced to the World Championships.
“I think I was 16th,” Grove said. “I actually didn’t even know you could qualify for the World Championships. It was my first nationals. I wasn’t even trying to qualify, but then I heard you could a couple days before the race. I thought it would be cool, but I wasn’t expecting to. Then I did and I was really excited.”
Carley’s mom, Cheryl, and a family friend put on a fundraiser that helped cover the cost of the trip to London.
Both Carley and Cheryl made the trip across the Atlantic. Once in London, Carley said she didn’t have much of a chance to play tourist. She was too busy training with Team USA.
Read more of this story in today's print edition or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.