By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Aug 10, 2014 at 10:03 PM Photography: David Bernacchi

The USA Triathlon Sprint National Championships were held downtown Milwaukee over the weekend, and the city witnessed nearly 5,000 athletes from every state in the nation on the lakefront, centered around the Milwaukee Art Museum and Discovery World.

Milwaukee drew the country’s top triathletes in all age groups because the top 25 finishers in each age breakdown earned a spot for USA Triathlon's Team USA, an amateur group that will represents the country at various multisport world championship events.

On Sunday, Taylor Knibb bested Wausau’s Dani Fischer by nearly two minutes in winning the 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run in 1 hour, 2 minutes and 53 seconds. (Fischer was first in the female 25- to 29-year-old age group).

Mike Meehan won the men’s division by finishing in 58:29, edging out Kevin Denny (58:47), raced their way to overall titles at the 2014 USA Triathlon Sprint National Championships, held Sunday as the closing event.

On Saturday, the lakefront was host to the USA Triathlon Super Sprint Series and the Olympic-Distance National Championships.

In the Super Sprint Series, Sara McLarty and Jarrod Shoemaker took the podium in winning a race of completed two continuous circuits of the same course, including a 325-meter swim, 4-kilometer bike and 1.5-kilometer run.

McLarty finished in 37:51 seconds to earn the win, 40 seconds ahead of Abby Geurink. Shoemaker won with a time of 33:19, five seconds ahead of Darr Smith.

In the Olympic-Distance competition, amateurs Heather Lendway and Steven Mantell beat out nearly 3,100 competitors over the course of a 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run.

Lendway, the event’s defending champion, won her second straight in 2:05:07. Fischer had another strong showing, finishing second in 2:05:35 and winning the 25-29 age group.

On the men’s side, Mantell finished the course in 1:50:59 to beat out Madison’s Mark Harms, who finished in 1:51:45. He also won the 35-39 age group, his sixth title in the group. Another Wisconsin native rounded out the top three as Middleton’s James Burke checked in at 1:52:06.

The athletes in the top 25 this weekend will now go on to compete at the 2015 ITU World Championships in Chicago, as the traditional Olympic-distance and sprint triathlon world championships return to the U.S. for the first time since 2005.