May 21 - USA Triathlon have unveiled a formidable, 11-strong team of Para-triathletes to represent the national team in 2011, spearheaded by three-time world champion Sarah Reinertsen (pictured).
Reinertsen, the first female leg amputee to complete the Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Hawaii in 2005, is joined in the team by two-time world champions Ivonne Mosquera-Schmidt, Beth Price and Aaron Scheidies in a decorated group that boasts 14 International Triathlon Union (ITU) Para-triathlon World Championship medals, including eight gold.
Melissa Stockwell, the 2010 world champion and last year's USA Para-triathlon Athlete of the Year, returns to the team for a second straight season while additional World Championship medallists on the squad are three-time silver medal winner Scout Bassett and Craig Vogtsberger, the runner-up at last years ITU Para-triathlon World Championships in Budapest.
Robin Caruso, who captured three straight USA Paratriathlon national titles in the TRI-4 category in 2008, 2009 and 2010, is another highly rated member of the team as is Joel Rosinbum who was a member of the 2010 USA Para-triathlon national team.
First-time USA Para-triathlon national team members for 2011 include Michael Johnston and Patricia Walsh.
Johnston finished seventh in his debut at the ITU World Championships in 2010 while Walsh posted the fastest time in the Physically Challenged Open Division at the 2010 Nautica New York City Triathlon.
The team will be looking to dominate at the 2011 ITU Para-triathlon World Championships in September in Beijing where 27 nations from all five continents have pledged to participate.
"This year's USA Para-triathlon National Team looks really solid," said Jon Beeson, co-chairman of USA Triathlon's Para-triathlon Committee.
"We're especially strong on the women's side with the likes of Melissa Stockwell, Sarah Reinertsen and Robin Caruso on board.
"The men are led by Craig Vogtsberger, Joel Rosinbum and Michael Johnston, all veterans of last year's ITU World Championships in Budapest.
"Paralympic inclusion has many countries sending athletes to the worlds for the first time so Beijing in September will be a tough test.
"We'll be ready."
Members of the team are eligible for a travel grants for the 2011 ITU Para-triathlon World Championships in Beijing as well as performance bonuses from the World Championship event.
Excitement surrounding the sport of Para-triathlon is at an all-time high after the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced in last December at a Governing Board meeting that the sport of will officially make its debut at the Rio 2016.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
January 2011: Perkins and Stockwell scoop USA Paratriathlete of year awards