A former national para swimmer, Katie Crowhurst converted to paratriathlon in the summer of 2021. Twelve months later, she was already Commonwealth champion. And she’s still only 18…
Who is Katie Crowhurst?
With her prowess in the pool recognised at the age of five on a family holiday to Center Parcs, Crowhurst first emerged as an international para swimmer. Her triathlon career began not by design.
With swimming pools closed during the pandemic, she maintained her fitness with a training diet of open-water swimming, cycling and running.
The variety of the multi-disciplinary world struck a chord and Crowhurst ditched the swimming for the pursuit of paratriathlon glory.
Racing in the PTVI category as a visually impaired athlete, she has tasted a commendable amount of glory in the 18 short months she’s been a paratriathlete. By mid-July 2022, Crowhurst had become national champion, but a greater achievement was to come her way by the end of the month.
Racing before an enthusiastic home crowd in Birmingham, of which she took full advantage, her (understandably) superior swim gave her the edge over her opponents, which she maintained to the tape, taking gold barely a year after pledging herself to the sport.
It remains to be seen if Crowhurst will add a third title – that of world champion – when the world champs open in Abu Dhabi in late November.
But there won’t be any worries if she doesn’t. Her double-champion status already marks an impressive wins/months-in-the-sport ratio. And time is very much on her side.
How old is Katie Crowhurst?
Katie Crowhurst was born on April 8 2004, making her 18 years of age.
Katie Crowhurst’s career highlights
July 2021: Second at the national championships
Having only taken up the sport this summer, Crowhurst takes silver at the national champs at Eton Dorney in her home county of Berkshire in the PTVI category for visually impaired athletes. The teenager is beaten by Melissa Reid, 14 years her senior.
October 2021: A second silver, this time in Portugal
The youngest in the field by seven years, 17-year-old Crowhurst is aided by her notably superior swim speed and takes silver at the World Triathlon Para Cup race in the Portuguese town of Alhandra.
November 2021: The world champs beckon…
Fewer than six months after taking up the sport, Crowhurst takes an impressive sixth place at the world championships in Abu Dhabi.
July 2022: Number one in the country
Just a year into triathlon competition, Crowhurst claims the national title in the PTVI division at the championships in Eton Dorney.
July 2022: Golden girl
Representing England, Crowhurst takes Commonwealth Games gold with a striking performance in Birmingham. Putting in the fastest swim and bike splits, she takes a comfortable time cushion going into the run and the margin of victory is more than four minutes.
Her achievement is all the more remarkable as she’s only ever competed in one race before with her guide today, Jess Fullager.
August 2022: Silver in south Wales
A month on from her golden day in the second city, Crowhurst has to settle for silver at the World Triathlon Para Series in Swansea, despite setting the fastest swim time of the day.
In fact, it looked like bronze would be the colour of medal before a thrilling home-straight sprint which saw Crowhurst and her guide Grace Hawthorne overpower the Canadian Jessica Tuomela.
Katie Crowhurst in quotes
On taking up triathlon after the pandemic recalibrated her swim training options: “I began really enjoying everything I was doing with my athletics club, as well as cycling. Triathlon sounded fun and with the three disciplines, it could be a new challenge. It gave me a new fire in my belly.”
On winning Commonwealth paratriathlon gold: “We ran past my family and I started crying. The support was incredible and the last lap was amazing.”
On taking silver at the World Triathlon Para Series Swansea alongside her guide Grace Hawthorne: “We were catching the Canadians [who were in second] and Grace didn’t let me get a drink at the last station. I was like, ‘I’m going to be sick’. She really pushed me and I’m grateful that she did. I was a tough last 100m but we did it.”
What’s next for Katie Crowhurst?
Having been in the sport for such a short space of time, most of Crowhurst’s ambitions are yet to be fulfilled, with the Paralympics in France in 2024 a high priority.
“Now I just want to take things as they come,” she says. “I’ve just finished school, so I’ll be focusing on my sport for the next year and Paris is the aim.”
Top image credit: Al Bello/Getty Images