Renee Tomlin was both relieved and elated after earning two victories at the Sarasota-Brandenton Triathlon Festival in Florida over the weekend.

The 29-year-old Ocean City High School graduate essentially won the national championship by taking top honors in the ITU Triathlon World Cup on Saturday at Nathan Benderson Park.

On Sunday, she joined Jason West, Taylor Spivey and Morgan Pearson to give Team USA the victory in the CAMTRI Mixed Relay American Championships.

Tomlin accomplished the feats after missing most of the triathlon season with a stress fracture in her left foot.

“It’s been a very frustrating year for me,” Tomlin said Monday in a phone interview. “So to come back like this meant a lot.”

Tomlin prevailed Saturday in a tight race that featured a different format. Officials were forced to cancel the swim portion of the event due to heightened algae levels in the lake and switched it to a duathlon (run-bike-run).

Competitors were required to do a 2.5K run, an 18.3K bike, then another 5K run. Tomlin, a former track and cross country standout at Ocean City and at Georgetown University, took the lead early in the final run and held off former Hoyas teammate Kirsten Kasper to win in 54 minutes, 34 seconds. Kasper finished in 54:35.

“It’s really exciting to finish on the podium with Renee,” Kasper told USA Triathlon on Saturday. “We run with each other so much throughout the year that it’s kind of second nature to us.”

It was Tomlin’s fourth career victory in an International Triathlon Union (ITU) race. The race also served as the USA Triathlon Elite National Championships, with the top-three U.S. finishers comprising the national team.

Such an accomplishment didn’t seem possible a few months ago.

Tomlin suffered a navicular stress fracture in her foot while training in February. She attempted a comeback at a triathlon in Jun, but reinjured it and was forced to take more time off.

“It was a very challenging time for me physically, mentally and emotionally,” Tomlin said. “I learned a lot about myself.”

She came through with another big win in Sunday’s mixed relay.

As it was in Saturday’s race, the swim was canceled. Each athlete completed a 750-meter run, 6.1K bike and another 1.5K run before tagging off to the next teammate. The combined time for all four teammates determined the outcome.

Team USA completed it in 1 hour, 7 minutes, 40 seconds. Team Canada took the silver medal in 1:07.45, followed by Brazil in 1:08.

Tomlin led off for Team USA and overcame a mechanical issue with her bike in transition to tag West while in second place. Spivey went third and Pearson was the anchor.

“I had a mistake in the first transition where I dropped my (bike) chain,” Tomlin said. “I lost my lead (after the first run), but I was able to cut it (to four or five seconds) during the second run and put Jason in pretty good position. It was a good learning experience, working through little things that can cost you.”

Tomlin, who lives and trains in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is spending a few days visiting with friends and family in Ocean City before heading to South Korea next week to compete Tongyeong ITU Triathlon World Cup. A few weeks later, she will race in the Miyazaki ITU Triathlon World Cup in Japan.

She hopes a strong effort in 2019 will help her chances of making the U.S. Olympic team that will compete in Tokyo in 2020. In addition to the individual men’s and women’s races, there will also be a mixed relay for the first time in the Olympics.

“Adding the mixed relay is huge for the sport,” Tomlin said. “I would love to be a part of that. I’ve always enjoyed competing in relays.”

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Contact: 609-272-7201 DWeinberg@pressofac.com Twitter @PressACWeinberg

Sportswriter/columnist

Member of The Press sports staff since 1986, starting my 27th season as The Press Eagles' beat writer. Also cover boxing, MMA, golf, high school sports and everything else.

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