Prentice powers to 6th in Sarasota sunshine
The women’s event of the UIPM 2016 World Cup Final came to a close yesterday (Friday 6th May) in the sunshine state of Florida with Freyja Prentice finishing 6th in Sarasota – her highest placing in this year’s World Cup series. The performance was also a marked improvement on last year’s Sarasota debut which saw her complete World Cup #1 in 18th place.
Freyja finished her fencing ranking round joint 9th with a solid 20 victories and 15 defeats on Thursday morning. With the event following the Olympic format of the ranking round being held a day before the remainder of the competition, this put her in a strong position before the final day on Friday.
Florida showed itself in its best light on Friday morning as the swimming discipline started with a light breeze keeping the Sarasota Spring temperatures comfortable. Freyja swam strongly with a season-consistent time of 2:26:04 but was “disappointed” not to come closer to her Rio time of 2:23:15 – her best swim time this season. Commenting on her disappointment she said “I know I can swim better than this as my PB is actually 2 minutes 19 seconds. And I know I have the fitness as I’m not leaving the pool feeling at all fudged. I need to work on this”
The bonus fencing round saw Freyja, who at this point was no longer in the top 10, complete her fence with no additional bonus points so she had everything to play for in the riding. Her small but sparky horse cheekily bucked its way around most of the collecting ring during the warm up but settled down in the competition. Freyja’s riding talent really showed though and she finished with a stylish clear round making the perky Prince look like an easy ride – only picking up 1 time fault. This meant she impressively finished the course as the 3rd best rider of the day. Freyja described her horse as “interesting”!
Now lying in 11th place and with 781 MP points she started the combined event in good shape and, having started with a handicapped time of 1.06, worked incredibly hard and shot accurately to come over the finish line in 12.25, securing her place on the podium in 6th. Pentathlon GB coach Marian Gheorghe said he was “very pleased” with Freyja’s performance and added “it’s really good for Britain to see an athlete competing at this level on the podium”.
Freyja reflecting on her performance said “Normally I start lower at this stage in the competition and then run my way to the higher placing so already being 11th meant I was more worried that I normally would be. The wind effected by first shoot as well so I panicked a bit but I’m pleased that I improved with my final shoot – getting all 5 with 6 shots”.
The competition was won by reigning World Champion Lena Schoneborn with Hungary's Zsofia Foldhazi taking silver and Lithuania's Ieva Serapinaite bronze.
The men’s final tomorrow sees GB hopes resting on Jamie Cooke. Jamie will start the day in 17th place after Thursday’s fencing ranking round. The Men’s Final starts at 3.00pm UK time (10.00am Florida) with the swim.