Mirage News is reporting Tyler Smith, Bermudan Triathlete made in Leeds.
Bermudian triathlete Tyler Smith (Sports Science and Physiology 2020) goes up against Leeds teammates as he aims to help his nation to Commonwealth Games gold in Birmingham.
“Bermuda finished fifth in the triathlon mixed relay at the last Commonwealth Games,” says Smith. “We were within touching distance. We believe we can medal this time.”
No small feat, for a nation of 60,000 people – roughly eight times smaller than the population of Leeds. But with four athletes per relay team, Smith lets us in on Bermuda’s not-so-secret weapon: “We have the best female triathlete of all time on our team to finish things off,” he says. “That’s Dame Flora Duffy. So we always have a chance.”
Smith is uniquely positioned. Racing for Bermuda, he can learn from an athlete of Duffy’s caliber. In lockdown, when swimming pools were closed in the UK, he was able to train in the sea back home. Yet, having stayed in Leeds after graduation, he has the advantage of being based in the triathlon haven of Yorkshire. “There aren’t many places in the world with that combination of expertise, top athletes and top facilities,” says Smith. “Leeds has it.”
It’s why he decided to study at the University in the first place. Leeds Triathlon Centre is a partnership between British Triathlon, Leeds Beckett University, the University of Leeds and Leeds City Council. Alongside Smith, the training group consists of many GB athletes, and is led by world class coaches. “I visited Leeds and saw the close-knit triathlon group. There was that combination of a great city, a great university, amazing countryside, and top level facilities – including The Edge and The Brownlee Center.”
Smith is not the only one of his generation at the Center to toe the start line in Birmingham. Alex Yee, Smith’s friend from his time at Leeds, is one of the favorites for gold in the individual men’s race. Sam Dickinson (Sports Science 2019), a fellow Leeds alum, will fill the shoes of injured alum Jonny Brownlee (History 2013). Georgia Taylor-Brown, one of Smith’s training partners, is joint favorite for the women’s title, and her showdown with Dame Duffy is one of the most hotly anticipated events of the Games.
As for his own prospects, Smith will compete in both the individual event and the mixed team relay, and he hopes to build on his experience at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast: “That was one of my first senior racing experiences, and it was a real eye opener to see the professionalism at that level. It was also a motivator, because I knew I could compete.
“I was a student at the time. I remember we were doing a module on Environmental Physiology. It was all about heat acclimation and preparing for jet lag, which was perfect as we were heading to Australia. I volunteered for every single practical – so I’d do 90 minutes in a heat chamber taking measurements throughout,” Smith laughs. “They must have been wondering why I was going so hard.”