I have been asked on a few occasions whether young Tyler Smith has the necessary components to reach Tyler Butterfield’s level (other than the right first name!) and my guarded answer is that “I think so”.
I even think that over the Olympic Distance he could well do better than Butterfield. At 15 he has already convinced me that if he continues to develop and as he gains experience racing at Elite level, he will have the swim and bike to stay with the very best.
The big question mark is whether he will have the run to get to those podium positions. However, he is only 15 and has four years to compete at this level. The next three years will show whether he can develop the run he will need.
Tyler had outstanding performances last weekend and the weekend before as he finished in the top 20 in both the very competitive Flatlands Cup in Des Moines, Iowa, USA and at the Canadian National Championships (18th).
At both these races he was very close to the lead swimmers and his bike time was very close to the top juniors. Brent Demarest, who won the Flatlands Cup in Des Moines, a race in which Tyler finished 20th, was 17th at the 2013 16-19 junior elite world championships in London but just 10 seconds out of the top 10 and just over a minute behind the winner.
Demarest, who turns 19 this year, will most likely be on the start line again in Edmonton in August for the 2015 16-19 junior elite world championships and, if he starts, will no doubt be hoping for a podium finish.
So let’s compare Tyler and Brent’s times at Flatlands:
750m swim/20km bike/ 5km run
Brent (19) 8:22 / 31.33 /14:35
Tyler (15) 9:01 / 32:00 / 17:29
Given the age difference, Tyler’s performance is very encouraging and suggests that should he continue to develop and stay injury free, we might be watching him at the next Commonwealths up with the leaders.