Austin Hall thinks 2017 has been pretty great — he took part in his first ever full triathlon and found himself with a spot on the GB team at next year’s amateur European Championships.
The 20-year-old from Market Weston decided to throw his hat into the selection ring because ‘you have to be in it to have a chance’ but did not realistically believe he would make the national team.
Having only taken up the multidiscipline sport in adulthood, the former Culford School pupil has made rapid progress and, after just one triathlon, is primed to represent his country.
The Age Group Championships are considered the pinnacle of the amateur level, with the next step into the professional realms of the sport.
And Hall will travel with Team GB to the 2018 Tartu ETU Standard Distance Triathlon European Championships in July to compete.
He said: “I’m just over the moon to be selected, I wasn’t expecting it at all.
“I registered because you have to be in it to have a chance but I didn’t really think I had one, I just thought I’d give it a go.
“But then I qualified, so now I’m really determined to do as well as I can.”
Signs of his ability were seen in his preparation, as he won an Age Group race at Eton Dorney and came second in another event at Hever Castle — sparking his decision to try for the major tournament.
He added: “I’m targeting a top 15 finish in Europe and anything above that would, obviously, be amazing.
“I think that’s a very achievable goal for me although it’s still a very big challenge.
“But I’m also a long way off my full potential so my goal might even get harder as I keep developing — we’ll see.
“My dream goal would be to train and compete on the professional circuit.
“The thing to focus on first though, I think, is reaching the pinnacle of amateur triathlon — a lot will ride on how I do in July.
“If I do well then I will probably be looking to qualify for the bigger races — above Age Group standard even — but it will all depend.
“I have a lot of training to do between now and July to prepare for the championship.
“I have a few warm-up races scheduled for the winter, such as the Bucks Cross Country Championships and the Thetford Duathlon in March.
The championships will be held in Tartu, Estonia, between July 19 and 21, 2018.