Mooloolaba ITU World Cup press conference. Kirsten Kasper.
Mooloolaba ITU World Cup press conference. Kirsten Kasper. Patrick Woods

Kasper keen for a tough swim leg

TRIATHLON: Rough conditions are expected to provide a tough challenge for those hitting the water in the Mooloolaba ITU World Cup, but it is one American triathlete Kirsten Kasper relishes.

Kasper heads into the race in fine form after placing fourth in a photo-finish with Natalie Van Coevorden at the ITU World Triathlon in Abu Dhabi last week.

And she's no stranger to Mooloolaba either, having placed third at the world cup event in 2016.

Despite the conditions, Kasper was excited to test herself against an elite field.

"There's always a good field of women that come out here and there's a lot of variables, especially with the swim,” she said.

"The surf especially is definitely not something we see very often so that's always a new aspect to the racing.

"(But) I actually lived in San Diego for two years and actually trained a little bit in Australia so I'm familiar with the surf and excited to do it.”

Kasper was hopeful of repeating her podium success of 2016, and looked to the event as a stepping stone to improving her ranking on the world endurance stage.

"Last year I finished fourth in the world and this year I want to be on that (ITU) podium,” she said.

Following Mooloolaba, she will train with the Canadian team on the Gold Coast as they prepare for the Commonwealth Games and has her sight fixed on also contesting the New Plymouth ITU Triathlon World Cup in a fortnight's time.

"My overall goal is to make the Olympics in 2020, so I think the goal right now is just to keep improving as a triathlete,” she said.

"I'm still relatively new to triathlon - I started in 2014 - so I still feel I have a lot of room for growth and I'm just taking it one year at a time.”

The elite women's Mooloolaba ITU World Cup will start at 1pm on Saturday. The men will race from 3pm.