Kirsten Sweetland won her first career bronze medal on Saturday at the World Triathlon Series in Hamburg, Germany.

Sweetland, from Victoria, has struggled with a series of injuries over the past six years, putting her career in jeopardy. She made it to the podium at one of the largest triathlons in the world after a sprint to the finish.

"I'm absolutely shocked," said Sweetland. "I knew I was in good form, but I had no idea that I had this in me today."

After a solid 750-metre swim, Sweetland did most of the work on the 20-kilometre bike before pulling away from the field with a handful of the best women triathletes on the planet for the five-kilometre run where the 25 year old led a group of five heading into the bell lap.

Sweetland and Australia's Emma Jackson sparred with each other over the final two kilometres after American Gwen Jorgensen took a sizable lead.

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Canada's Kirsten Sweetland, seen here competing in 2008, won her first career bronze medal at the World Triathlon Series on Saturday. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

In a sprint to the wire, Jackson edged out the Canadian in a photo finish for the silver with a time of 57:00. Sweetland also finished at 57:00.

"I had been doing some good training in Spain with my friend Emma Moffat, but you never know where you are really at until you get out here," said Sweetland, who will represent Canada at the Commonwealth Games in 10 days.

Jorgensen meanwhile ran her way into the history books, becoming the first woman to win four straight World Triathlon Series races after posting a time of 56:54. Canada's Paula Findlay held the previous record, winning three WTS races in a row in 2011.

Quebec City's Sarah-Anne Brault finished 11th at 57:47. Calgary's Ellen Pennock rounded out the Canadian contingent, placing 37th at 59:50.

In the men's race Andrew Yorke was the lone Canadian to suit up and finished 31st at 53:10.

Britain's Alistair Brownlee won for the first time this year winning with a time of 51:43. France's Vincent Luis was second at 51:45. The younger Brownlee brother, Jonathan, clocked-in at 51:48 for the bronze.