Dylan is a junior triathlete who won his first ever event. He talks to Sundried about training, racing, and his aspirations for the future.
Have you always been into sport?
Yes, I have always been sporty. My mum and uncle were very good youth athletes at national level and my dad was a keen amateur water skier. This meant they gave me the opportunity to try lots of sports from an early age, but I always swum competitively which gave me the opportunity to move into triathlon.
What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?
Although I enjoyed competitive swimming, I was only 10 and I found the training for a single discipline monotonous, so when I heard about a local triathlon training for kids I asked my mum if I could go. The idea of doing three sports seemed a lot more interesting, challenging and fun than just focusing on one. I really liked the idea of swimming and racing outside.
What's been your favourite race to date?
My favourite race so far was The Sussex Triathlon at Ashburnham Place. I was 15 and had been waiting what seemed like years to be able to do a sprint triathlon, and finally I was old enough. My mum was saying, "Don’t worry, take it easy, it’s your first one, it’s just a 'suck it and see' event" but I really went for it and won ! It was an amazing feeling of achievement and made me realise that I was a really competitive athlete.
And your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement was being made Club Captain at my triathlon club. I am a role model for the younger athletes and as I am placing well in competitions, I am showing what my club can do.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
I am dyslexic so I always worry about getting my lefts and rights in a muddle on my bike, but weirdly my dyslexia hasn’t had a great impact on my performance, as long as someone helps me with my lap counting, I manage okay.
How do you overcome setbacks?
When things go wrong or not as expected, whether that is in a competition or training, I talk it through with my family and coach, ask questions, and listen to advice to try and find the positives in the situation. However bad it seems at the time, when you break down the event there is plenty to learn and there will always be something good to build on next time.
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
I am lucky because my family have raced at a high level and really understand the pressure and difficulties of committing to training. I've never felt that sport is just about racing and am always encouraged to enjoy the social side too. It would have been good to be able to say to my 12 year-old self, "Keep believing in yourself, it’s going to be okay".
What are your goals for 2020?
My goals for 2020 are to race in ITU World Championships qualifier races; I really want to get one of those places so I can race in the world championships in 2021.
Who do you take inspiration from?
I take inspiration from watching and analysing other athletes' performances and listening to their experiences and trying to learn from them. I also really want to beat my mum's achievements! Also, my mum is pretty amazing. She started a a triathlon club because Canterbury didn’t have one. She was the only coach for years, it’s all voluntary and she does about 10 hours a week. She wants everyone to be the best they can be and my club is an amazing grass roots club.
What do you like about Sundried about what's your favourite bit of our kit?
The quality of Sundried is outstanding; my bib shorts and cycling jersey fit perfectly and are really comfortable. I’m quite tall and slim but the fit is spot on. I look really professional and smart. It’s easy to order online and there is a good choice, I was also impressed by how quickly my kit arrived.