Chris started as a swimmer and soon found a passion for multi sport in the form of aquathlon. He talks to Sundried about life in this sport.
Have you always been into sport?
Yes, I would definitely say so. I was always an energetic child so swimming helped keep me under control. As the years progressed, I really enjoyed working hard and the satisfaction of doing well at competitions, so I devoted more and more time to swimming and bettering myself.
By my early teens, I was spotted with high potential and that led me to go into the England programmes to develop my knowledge of the sporting world and this only fired up more and more ambition for the future.
What made you decide to enter the world of aquathlon?
What made me join aquathlon is the desire to expand my sporting career and build as an athlete. The choice to specifically go to aquathlon was pretty easy as I had already covered the swimming part but had previous experience at my local athletics club. This put me in a pretty good starting position for my first aquathlon race.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
This is a tough one but it must have been my regional final at the age of 13. I was ranked 3rd going into the 50m breast stroke final but managed to come 2nd by the skin of my teeth. This is my favourite race as it was my biggest race to date and I was really nervous, but I got my head down and just kept pushing and pushing until the end of the pool and got a silver medal. The boy who I beat for 2nd became one of my really good friends to this day and the boy who won is my training partner!
And your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement was winning a national silver medal in the 200m breaststroke, coming off a rather bad season to doing a season's best just shows you’ve got to trust in your coaches and the programme you’re on. Also, qualifying for the European multi sport championships in Romania was pretty spectacular as it was my first international competition.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
I have had a race disaster. It was on one of my aquathlons and I went the wrong way on the running route! Luckily, an official chased after me and shouted at me. I only lost one place but did end up running 5.3 km instead of 5. It was rather embarrassing but I laugh about it now.
How do you overcome setbacks?
The way I overcome a setback is reminding myself of the love I have of the sports I do and how it’s gotten me through tough times. Instead of getting angry at myself or emotional at a disappointing race, I reflect on the good races and the challenges I’ve overcome in the past.
Also, if I have injured myself, which is a common setback for loads of athletes, I'd start back at the basics and find my confidence again whilst finding the quickest possible way of recovering for that specific injury. Obviously, each injury is a challenge on different levels for different people so there isn’t one answer for that.
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
Each sporting career is a personal journey for everyone, no matter how successful. So I’d given myself some advice on the lines of “just enjoy it” and “it’ll all be worth it” so when I did feel like giving up, I'd pick myself up and push even harder for the goal I was working towards.
What are your goals for 2019 and 2020?
My short-term goals are all about working on my running as it’s my weakest part. This means I’ll be working on different technical points in my run but also different styles of training so I can harness that power and stamina. Long-term I’d really like to make the world championships for aquathlon. It’s a big step-up from what I have previously experienced as the level is so good and everyone is super fast as well.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
I take my inspiration not from the Olympic/world/commonwealth champions but from the people who, after a setback, pick themselves back up and turn that weakness into a strength. It’s one of the most powerful tools to have mastered but it’s definitely one of the trickiest. I find inspiration and motivation from this as it shows the determination and resilience to be the best and I like taking that away with me.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit
I love the ethos of Sundried. It’s a triathlon brand, focusing on triathlon not the popularity of the brand or how much money it makes. It’s a proper professional brand and I believe it's highly underrated.
My favourite bit of kit has got to be the Sundried Dom 2.0 Men's Running Vest. It's incredibly lightweight and perfect for running in the dark due to its visibility and reflective properties. It’s also part of Sundried’s Eco Core range which helps reduce wasted my making the products out of plastic bottles!