Paratriathlete Lauren Steadman is bursting with confidence after becoming the first woman in three years to beat four-time world champion Faye McClelland to win the London World Series Paratriathlon at Hyde Park on Saturday morning.
Steadman, from Sawtry, switched from swimming to paratriathlon last year and is now looking forward to the European Championships in August – though she has admitted her latest achievement is still sinking in.
Talking to The Hunts Post on Monday, the 21-year-old said: “I just went out there to give it my best. I am still in a state of shock to be honest. I honestly just went out there to race hard.”
Steadman, who is studying physchology at Portsmouth University, built up a lead of more than two minutes and 30 seconds in the initial swim stage of the Tri4 class for athletes with arm impairments. McClelland, 35, was unable to overturn that deficit despite being marginally faster over the cycling and running stages, as well as in the transitions. Steadman said: “My season has been a bit dodgy to be honest because I am an undergraduate and I have been doing my dissertation – I just went out there to race as best I could and I never expected to beat a four-time world champion.”
Steadman swam for Great Britian at the last two Paralympics, making her debut at 15 in Bejing, but switched to paratriathlon after London 2012.
“I had never really planned to make the change, I just went with my heart,” she said.
At the recent World Series event in Yokohama, Japan, Steadman gave her fellow Briton McClelland a run for her money, but finished 11 seconds behind. On Saturday, in London, she finished the race in a time of 1hr 9min 44sec, which was two minutes and two seconds ahead of her rival.
Now the former Sawtry Community College pupil will concentrate on the Europeans in Austria on June 21 and the World Championships in Canada in August. “And then there is Rio and the Paralympics,” she said.
The sport of Paratriathlon is relatively new and will make its Paralympic Games debut in Brazil. Don’t bet against Steadman being the golden girl of the Tri4 class there, too.