Friday, June 22, 2018
Sports

Ex-NFL star struggles but finishes St. Anthony's Triathlon

ST. PETERSBURG — Former NFL receiver and Dancing With the Stars winner Hines Ward was glad to see the swim leg of Sunday's St. Anthony's Triathlon shortened from 1.5 kilometers to 750 yards because of choppy waters.

"Compared to my first triathlon, this swim felt great," said Ward, who played 14 seasons with the Steelers. "I was ready. I've been training."

St. Anthony's was Ward's first Olympic-distance triathlon. He did a spring triathlon last month in San Diego but struggled in the water.

"He's come a long way," Ward's coach, Paula Newby-Fraser, said. "He was just awesome."

Fraser, the winner of eight Ironman World Championships, is training Ward as part of the "Got Chocolate Milk?" ad campaign.

"I think he really dug down deep for this one," Newby-Fraser said. "Now it is on to Kona."

Ward, 37, plans to do a Half Ironman next then the granddaddy of all triathlons, the Ironman in Hawaii, all in less than one year.

"After all those years in the NFL, you would think that I was in good shape," Ward said. "But playing football is nothing like endurance sports."

Ward's overall time was 2 hours, 26 minutes, 37 seconds. He finished the abbreviated swim in 15:53, the 40-kilometer bike in 1:33:27 and the 10-kilometer run in 51:27.

"I am ready for the next one," said Ward, who had 1,000 catches in the NFL. "It gets a little easier with each triathlon."

Pitch man: Anthony Sullivan is best known for his infomercials. But the 44-year-old star of late-night TV also was a standout swimmer growing up in Devon, England.

"I swam the 100 butterfly," said Sullivan, who lives in St. Petersburg. "I still work out every day with the master's team at North Shore Pool."

Sullivan has completed the Olympic distance triathlon for the past seven years. But this year, he had to sit out the bike and run and do the swim as part of a relay team.

"I'm nursing a hip injury," said Sullivan, an all-around outdoorsman who takes yearly surf trips to Costa Rica. "I hurt it dirt biking in Colorado."

Sullivan said he plans to do the full triathlon next year.

"The St. Anthony's Triathlon is one of the reasons why I moved to St. Petersburg," he said. "I just love this race."

Team spirit: In addition to thousands of individuals, the St. Anthony's Triathlon always draws hundreds of triathletes who compete on relay teams. Many of this year's finishers got their start on teams such as St. Petersburg's T3.

"It stands for Teamwork, Train, Tri!" said Christy Nelson, who does the running. "We are just friends and neighbors who help each other belong."

The team started when Trisha Johnson, a 46-year-old mother of two, started swimming to lose some baby weight. Johnson recruited Nelson, an experienced distance runner, half-Ironman finisher and mother. The two then recruited another mom, 43-year-old Jennifer Thayer, to cycle, and a tri-team was born.

The trio won their first race, the Longleaf Tri Sprint, in October. Sunday, the competition was a little tougher. Team Tri! finished in 2:50:25, eighth in the women's division.

Said Nelson: "We are just happy to be in the top 10."

Miscellany: Many of the nearly 100 pros who competed for the $65,000 purse also earned points in the opening of the nine-city 5150 circuit. … The event drew athletes from 44 states and 23 countries.

Comments
Derrick Brooks won’t pursue USF’s AD job

Derrick Brooks won’t pursue USF’s AD job

The local favorite for USF's athletic director job said Friday that he is not a candidate.In a three-paragraph statement, Pro Football Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks said his commitments to Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School, his charities and fam...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Chris Godwin on SiriusXM: Bucs have confidence in backup QBs

Chris Godwin on SiriusXM: Bucs have confidence in backup QBs

Bucs receiver Chris Godwin, who has had as good an offseason as any Tampa Bay player, was on SiriusXM NFL radio for a scheduled interview on Thursday night, talking about a range of subjects, including the news of Jameis Winston's suspension to start...
Updated: 2 hours ago
With Winston suspension, how might Bucs split QB reps in preseason?

With Winston suspension, how might Bucs split QB reps in preseason?

With news that Jameis Winston will be suspended for the first three games of 2018, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter has an interesting decision to make for training camp and especially in preseason games: How does he split reps between Winston and backup Ryan...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bucs QB Jameis Winston’s suspension: What they’re saying

Bucs QB Jameis Winston’s suspension: What they’re saying

There are so many sides to the Jameis Winston suspension, and it will continue to be a major Bucs story line through September and beyond. Here's some of the reactions and notes that have already emerged in the first 24 hours since news broke Thursda...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Support growing for Tom Jurich to become Bulls’ next AD

Support growing for Tom Jurich to become Bulls’ next AD

This dispatch comes at you from a remote south Georgia lake shore, where the waters remain far more pristine than the waves being made in USF athletics circles.Which is to say, a number of prominent folks are clamoring for Tom Jurich to become the Bu...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Welcome back to the dark side, Bucs fans

Welcome back to the dark side, Bucs fans

TAMPA — Thursday was not the end of Jameis Winston in Tampa Bay, but it is in sight.Me? I was sitting at home. I was tired of the NBA draft, even with Tampa's Kevin Knox going to the New York Knicks.So I switched to the NFL Network. An episode ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Winston aftermath: Report says Darby wasn’t in car for whole ride

Winston aftermath: Report says Darby wasn’t in car for whole ride

There's no telling how much detail will be disclosed in what the NFL learned in its investigation that led to Jameis Winston being suspended for the first three games of the upcoming season, but some have already been reported in the first 24 hours s...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Kwon Alexander to Jameis Winston: ‘We gotcha back’

Kwon Alexander to Jameis Winston: ‘We gotcha back’

There are many questions in the aftermath of Thursday's news that Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston will be suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season, but even before the suspension is officially announced, he is drawing support on social ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Kevin Knox brushes off crowd reaction to take center stage

Kevin Knox brushes off crowd reaction to take center stage

New York Knicks fans are a boisterous bunch. They voice their displeasure at just about everything. Four years ago, the fans booed the team's first-round selection of Kristaps Porzingis, who became an all-star this past season.So it was widely assume...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Tampa Bay Times’ all-Tampa Bay girls basketball team

Tampa Bay Times’ all-Tampa Bay girls basketball team

Hillsborough Player of the year: Kaliah Henderson, Jr., RobinsonWhy we picked her: Henderson is the type of player opponents know they have to stop. That has proven easier said than done. The Knights went 22-3 and that record would be much worse with...
Updated: 6 hours ago