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Our FANS Ambassadors

Here at Sentinel we offer free access to national sports people (FANS). On this page you can get to know who our FANS ambassadors are.

Suzy Knights

Sport: Triathlon

 

Competiton Level: Team GB Age Group

 

Sporting journey,backgroud and history:  I got into triathlon 5 years ago. Did my first race as a promise to a friend and to raise money for charity and have been hooked ever since. I completed my first 70.3 race in 2016 and did IMUK in 2017. I competed in the British age group team at Aquathon in Bratislava (2017), this year I qualified and raced the Challenge World (70.3) championships in Samorin. Later this year I am competing in the ETU Long Distance European Championships in Almere.

 

Sporting highlights: 

Finishing my first triathlon is still a massive highlight for me. I am not from a sporting background and didn’t do any exercise at all up to this point in my life. Completing IMUK was also a really proud moment for me. Wearing a GB trisuit is pretty special, I enjoyed racing in Bratislava but didn’t do myself justice and am hoping to do better in Almere later this year.

 

 

How the FANS scheme helped your training: Having access to swimming pool and weights is key for triathlon training. These will be much needed in the build up to Almere. Both of which Sentinel provide! Triathlon is such an expensive sport and the FANS scheme means I don’t have to compromise on my training. The hoodie is also my favourite. I wear it all the time, makes me feel proud to not only have the GB team written on it but to know a gym backs me as well. Thank you!

Kevin Gunton

Sport: Jujitsu and Self defence

 

Competiton Level: National and International  

 

Sporting journey,backgroud and history: Having started training in Ju Jitsu at the age of 12 I have over 20 years of experience. My  formative years were spent directly under the tuition of 8th Dan Great Master Roy Fox, learning the teachings of the World Ju-Jitsu Federation syllabus. Tuition was then handed over to 8th Dan Great Master Steve Garrod and 7th Dan Master Steve St Clair, the years spent under their guidance provided the platform for me to launch my own successful martial arts school in 2010 and compete nationally and internationally to the highest standard.

 

Sporting highlights: 

Black belt 5th Dan in Ju-Jitsu.

Black Belt 4th Dan in Goshin Ryu.

2016 NMAC-GB National self defence silver medallist.

2017 World Martial Arts Games creative self  defence world champion.

2017 World Martial Arts Games realistic self defence world champion.

2017 NMAC-GB National self defence silver medallist.

2018 Great Britain Martial Arts squad instructor.

2018 European Martial Arts Games Self Defence silver medallist.

2018 European Martial Arts Games realistic self defence European champion.

2018 European Martial Arts Games bladed weapons forms European champion.

NMAC-GB Joint Head of Self defence and grappling.

 

How the FANS scheme helped your training: The FANS scheme has helped me to Improve my physical fitness and focus allowing me to compete,  train and teach to the best of my ability. This project has been instrumental in my successes both Nationally and Internationally.

Abi Cohman

Sport: Ultimate Frisbee - This is a team sport played on grass or the beach. Divisions are men’s, mixed and women’s. The game is played on a football size pitch with 2 end zones, with 7 players on the pitch for grass and 5 a side for beach. A grass game will last 100 minutes and the objective is to score goals by catching the disc in the endzone. You cannot run with the disc and if it is intercepted or dropped then the opposing team has a chance to score. The game is fast paced with quick movement. Another aspect of ultimate is that it is self-refereed. This encourages all players to learn the rules and be able to articulate and discuss violations; it also encourages respect and positive communication between players and teams. 
 

 

Competiton Level: Along-side playing regularly on a national level in the Women’s and mixed divisions I have represented Great Britain in the Mixed division at the Under 23 world championships in 2015 and the beach world championships in 2017. I am currently on the Senior Women’s squad and train monthly in preparation for the European championships in Hungary in July and the World Championships in The Netherland in July 2020. In preparation for this we will also compete at various other national and international tournaments. 

 

Sporting journey,backgroud and history: I started playing Ultimate at The University of Sussex in 2012 and played there for 3 years along-side playing for Brighton Ultimate in the Mixed and Women’s divisions. I love Ultimate because a  lot of people are new to it and it fosters a really supporting environment where everyone can learn and no-one is judged. I got a place on the under 23 mixed squad in 2014 and my skills developed a huge amount whilst playing for that team. I found representing GB a hugely rewarding experience and learnt so much, I trialled for the mixed beach team and trained with them from 2016 before competing in France in 2017. I have now decided to try competing in the women’s division and have just started training with a newly formed team. My main role on pitch is on defence and as an upfield ‘cutter’ but I am hoping to further develop my throwing skills so train weekly in Norwich and regular go out to practice with other players. 

 

I started swimming at the age of 4 with Oulton Broad swimming club and continued to successfully compete at county and national level. Swimming gave me the solid base level of fitness and experience of sport/competition; therefore, I was lucky enough to compete in county Hockey, Cross- Country, Netball and football throughout my school/college years.  I was then selected for U19 Colleges England Rugby team where I competed in several tournaments against other international teams. Unfortunately, due to injuries and studies the Rugby career was cut short. This then led to intense physio and getting back to my roots in the swimming pool. After joining the local TriMasters Swimming Club, the gym at Waterlane leisure centre and Beccles Triathlon Club, I began to regain confidence and close in on some old PB’s in the pool and on the road running. A few friends from the club mentioned trying an Aquathlon last year to combine both sports and since then, I have been fortunate and successful enough in these events to be selected for GB age group at upcoming European Aquathlon Championships 2019-20.

 

Sporting highlights: The week representing GB in France was one of the most challenging but amazing experiences in my playing career. It was 35 degrees and the sand was burning people’s feet but we came together as a team, supporting each other and playing some amazing teams. My team-mates were brilliant and the whole week was very enjoyable. I also got MVP for our game against Ukraine (which we won). 

How the FANS scheme helped your training: Having access to different high quality gyms and facilities means I can improve my fitness and strength and also recover after a hard training weekend or tournament. My main focusses for the gym are to improve my general fitness, get faster and jump higher, as well as being able to put more power into my throws. These are all really important aspects of the game so this training is really vital. 

Nicola Pollard

Sport: Aquathon

 

Competiton Level: GB AGE GROUP 30-34

 

Sporting journey,backgroud and history: 

I started swimming at the age of 4 with Oulton Broad swimming club and continued to successfully compete at county and national level. Swimming gave me the solid base level of fitness and experience of sport/competition; therefore, I was lucky enough to compete in county Hockey, Cross- Country, Netball and football throughout my school/college years.  I was then selected for U19 Colleges England Rugby team where I competed in several tournaments against other international teams. Unfortunately, due to injuries and studies the Rugby career was cut short. This then led to intense physio and getting back to my roots in the swimming pool. After joining the local TriMasters Swimming Club, the gym at Waterlane leisure centre and Beccles Triathlon Club, I began to regain confidence and close in on some old PB’s in the pool and on the road running. A few friends from the club mentioned trying an Aquathlon last year to combine both sports and since then, I have been fortunate and successful enough in these events to be selected for GB age group at upcoming European Aquathlon Championships 2019-20.

 

Sporting highlights: 

Scunthorpe Aquathlon 2018 1st Place Mixed/All ages

 

How the FANS scheme helped your training: Unlimited use of indoor facilities with a multi-site option to cater for all elements of training needed.

Terry Garrity

Sport: Triathlon 

 

Competiton Level: Team GB Age group 

 

Sporting journey,backgroud and history: 

Through his sporting history Terry has had many successful competions, here arejust a few:Road running since 1980’s,Completed 4 London Marathons.Norfolk Vet 10 mile champ in the 1990’s,Turned to Triathlon some time in 2000’s. Terry has also been the Age group winner  at Norwich Olympic Distance  Tri for 4 consecutive years 2013-2017. 3rd place - National Sprint Triathlon championship 2017.Wife, daughter and son also run. We are avid supporters of Parkrun and take part most Saturdays wherever we happen to be as there are so many across the country.

 

Sporting highlights: 

1st place age group - Challenge Peguera 2017,Encouraging my wife to complete her 1st Triathlon after she retired,Encouraging both son and daughter to take up running

 

How the FANS scheme helped your training: Winter strength training in the gym has been very beneficial as pre season preparation and advice and encouragement from staff there has been very beneficial.

Access to the swimming pool has also been really important to help me gain confidence and work on my weakest discipline.

Brian Tate

Sport: Triathlon & Aquathon

 

Competiton Level: Team GB Age group 

 

Sporting journey,backgroud and history: In the early 1970s Brian was part of Lowestoft Swimming Club for two seasons winning the majority of the competitions he took part in. Later on he joined Lowestoft Atheltics Club prefering the longer race distances with his best times being; 10miles (49.5mins), Half Marathon (69mins) and Full Marathon (2hours 24mins). Brian went on to compete in triathlon in the 1980s and early 1990s winning three National Age Group titles and two European Age Group Bronze medals. He dipped out of the sport for almost 20years and returned at aged 70.

 

Sporting highlight: Returning to the sport aged 70 and winning Gold at the Sprint World Championships in Rotterdam (70-74 age group). This year saw him win 70-74yr Age Group Aquathon Gold in Ibiza beating the younnger age groups in the process.

 

How the FANS scheme helped your training: Having access to the pool for my swim training and the gym to continue training and preparation for next years World and European Aquathon Championships

Shaun Crowley

Sport: Triathlon  

 

Competition Level: Age Group Team GB

 

Sporting journey, background and history: I am a Director of Beccles Lido and always wanted there to be a Triathlon at the Lido – even though I was not really a swimmer, didn’t have a bike, and only ran when playing 5-a-side football!  When I found someone to run the Beccles Triathlon they insisted I compete!  This was 2013 but it wasn’t until 2015 that I began to compete seriously.  I won my age group (55-59) in the Norwich Sprint Triathlon, came 3rd in age group in my first Olympic distance at Fritton and entered my first Middle Distance in Ely.  To my surprise I came 5th in age group, despite minimal training, and I really enjoyed the longer distance (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile half marathon).  I entered York Sundowner Middle Distance 3 weeks later and won my age group!  and 6 weeks later travelled to Mallorca and came AG 3rd in my first international race – Challenge Peguera Middle Distance.  This qualified me to represent AG Team GB in 2016 at the Long Distance European Duathlon Championship and Middle Distance European Triathlon Championship.  Unfortunately, 8 days before I was due to compete, I was involved in an RTA while out on my TT bike and broke my back in 4 places.  2 of the fractures were unstable and I had to have titanium rods screwed into my spine and I was fused T2-T8.  Nonetheless I was determined to get back to competition, and with the help of Beccles Triathlon Club and Seasons Health Club in Beccles I am now swimming, cycling and running again; and in 2017 qualified to represent AG Team GB in the European Middle and Long Distance Championships where I completed my first long distance triathlon – a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 marathon – in Almere, Netherlands.  In 2018 I qualified for the European Long Distance Duathlon Championship, European and World Long Distance Triathlon Championships and competed in the European Middle Distance Triathlon Championship in Ibiza.  I have qualified for the 2019 Long Distance World Championship in Ponte Vedra, Spain, in May and I am hoping to again compete in the European Middle Distance Championship in July, which is in Transylvania!

 

Sporting Highlights: Has to be completing my first full triathlon following my injury – which at the time looked like it had ended any hope I had of even swimming, cycling or running again! 

 

 

How the FANS Scheme has helped your training: Triathlon is an expensive sport and there are a lot of training sessions to fit in, as well as strength training.  Having access to free swimming and gym membership at any of Sentinel’s pools and gyms has really helped me fit them all in within my budget. 

Adam Hitcham

Sport: Ju Jitsu & Self Deffence 

 

Competition Level: National and International 

 

Sporting journey, background and history: Having started training in Ju Jitsu at the age of 6 I have over 27 years of experience. My  formative years were spent directly under the tuition of 8th Dan Great Master Roy Fox, learning the teachings of the World Ju-Jitsu Federation syllabus. Tuition was then handed over to 8th Dan Great Master Steve Garrod and 7th Dan Master Steve St Clair, the years spent under their guidance provided the platform for me to launch my own successful martial arts school in 2010 and compete nationally and internationally to the highest standard.

 

Sporting Highlights: 

Black belt 5th Dan in Ju-Jitsu.

Black Belt 4th Dan in Goshin Ryu.

2016 NMAC-GB National self defence grand champion.

2017 World Martial Arts Games self defence silver medallist.

2017 NMAC-GB National self defence grand champion.

2018 Great Britain Martial Arts squad instructor.

2018 European Martial Arts Games Self Defence European Champion.

2018 European Martial Arts Games realistic self defence silver medalist.

NMAC-GB Joint Head of Self defence and grappling

 

How the FANS Scheme has helped your training: The FANS scheme has helped to Improved my physical fitness and focus allowing me to compete any train the to best of my ability. This project has been instrumental in my successes both Nationally and Internationally.

Tom Persich

Sport: Duathlon/Triathlon

 

Competition Level:Team GB Age Group (Duathlon)

 

Sporting journey, background and history: Football, football and more football up until 2014 when I suffered an ACL and lateral meniscus tear - I can still remember the popping sound - horrible!

I had a long wait for surgery so took up swimming and after a lot of practice taught myself front crawl.  I had ran a few marathons and regularly cycled to work so when a friend suggested to sign up to the East Coast Triathlon in 2017 it seemed like a fun idea.  I really enjoyed the experience and was hooked.  After this I ended up competing in several more races throughout 2017 including the Beccles Triathlon, Norwich Triathlon, West Suffolk Triathlon, Bala Triathlon and Oulton Park Duathlon - the last two being respective qualifiers for 2019 Age Group European Championships.  

Although I missed out in Bala I was really pleased with how I raced and I learnt a valuable lesson (a race described as 'relatively flat' in Wales is no such thing if you grew up in Norfolk -  I always check the course profile now!).  The Oulton Park Duathlon also went really well and  I don't think I've ever enjoyed a race so much - it was very competitive and my first race on a smooth closed circuit which made the bike ride great fun and really memorable. 

 

Sporting Highlights:I am really pleased to have made the GB Age Group Duathlon Team and am looking forward to competing in the European Championships this October in Ibiza.  

On a local level, picking up my first age-group wins at the East Coast and Waveney Triathlons this year has given me the confidence to push harder with my training.  A highlight, however, was winning the Beccles triathlon relay with my older brother.  I was really pleased as I’d been working hard to improve my swimming technique and managed to shave a minute off my swim time from the previous year.  We won by about 30 seconds so it felt like the late evenings spent doing lengths up and down Bungay pool throughout the winter and spring had really paid off.

 

How the FANS Scheme has helped your training:The FANS scheme will be really helpful to my training over the coming months and will allow me to focus in on my strength work with good quality equipment.  Free access to Bungay pool will also allow me to increase my training volume and further work on my swimming which will help with my wider triathlon ambitions. 

Karle Howard

Sport: Duathlon

 

Competition Level:Team GB Age Group

 

Sporting journey, background and history: I have been cycling for longer than I can care to remember and always loved riding off road. At middle school I fitted knobbly tyres to my racing bike. Lots of people laughed - but now cyclocross is particularly popular. How times change! I was also quite handy on my BMX and used to ride through the local woods on an almost daily basis. After leaving school I had a number of years of doing no sport, or riding my bike. 

 

In the late 1990's I bought a road bike and started to compete in a few duathlons and quite enjoyed them, although at the time running was not a favourite activity of mine. I was also getting into MTB and enjoying riding off road once again. 

 

Inspired by 2012 I decided to get a little more competitive and started to enter races, both road cycling and running. I also dipped my toe into the world of pool based sprint triathlon.The past few years have seen me enter a number of races, both locally and in Europe. At this point I was content to just beat my previous times and positions in races that I had done before. I have really concentrated on my road biking and running over the last couple of years and have seen some good improvements in my ability. Having purchased a new MTB late 2017, with the intention of qualifying for the GB Age Group team, I trained hard over the winter on both my mountain biking and trail running and secured a place on the team for the European Cross Duathlon Championships in Ibiza.

 

Sporting Highlights - Almost qualifying for the World Masters Road Racing Championships in 2017, missing out by 5 places and 30 seconds. The real highlight was receiving the confirmation that I had qualified for the GB Age Group Team for the Cross Duathlon which consists of a trail run, followed by a mountain bike and then another trail run.

 

How the FANS Scheme has helped your training - The FANS scheme is fantastic as it allows me access to modern state of the art equipment in a number of local facilities, meaning I can train comfortably indoors throughout the year regardless of the weather outside. I am also able to continue to practice and improve other areas where I am not so strong, which in my case is swimming.

Callum Westfield

Sport: Ju-Jitsu

 

Sporting journey,backgroud and history: I started offtraining in Karav Maga and then i had a look at Ju Jitsu, and since then i have stuck with Ju-Jitsu. I was awarded student of the year trophy in Ju-Jitsu. In competion i have won 3 gold,2 silver, and 1 bronze medals. And to top things of i have been nominated for the European martial arts games.

 

Sporting highlight:  My sporting highlight has to be getting nominated to be part of the GB team and entering and partkaking in the European martial arts games 

Lily Bird

Sport: Rock Climbing 

 

Competiton Level: Regional climbing competitions mainly.I have taken part in a National Competition

Sporting journey,backgroud and history: I started off as a beginner at Waterlane.I didn’t take it seriously as I just thought it was fun. When it was condemned I was devastated!  However I didn’t let that stop me from continuing my passion.

I mainly travelled to Norwich to climb. I became involved in competitions and was spotted by a coach and joined a squad called Mini Beasts. I now train with them and have climbed in Sheffield and Nottingham and rock faces in Derbyshire. I have competed Regionally and even nationally.I now have two years’ experience, since May 2016.

 

Sporting highlight: I would say that my sporting highlights have been my competing progress.  I like to compete as it shows my progress. A clear example of this would be the Nukids masters competition. In 2017  I came third but a year later I came joint first.

I have also competed in the National British Bouldering Competition which I came 21st in Britain.

I am keen to continue competing

 

How the FANS scheme helped your training: 

The FANs Scheme has given me a great new opportunity to train somewhere local and therefore more regularly.

Also, it has given me a chance to be more involved with this sport at Lowestoft as I’m hoping I will encourage others to love this sport as much as I do. I would also like to be involved in making new climbing routes etc.

Overall this has opened a whole new door for me and my training and given me new exciting challenges.

Roland Shaw

Sport: Triathlon

 

Competiton Level: Team GB age group 

 

Sporting journey,backgroud and history: We were living in Illinois, USA in 1999.  No sailing, so I just ran.  I got injured, so swam to aid rehabilitation.  A running work colleague called Nigel saw me and asked if I could ride a bike, with a smirk I said "yes" and he said "you could be a triathlete" and I actually said "what is one of them?!"  He lent me his spare bike and shoes for two years and we did a few events together.  The first was an OW sprint in which I did breast stroke throughout the swim - in a sailing shorty wet suit that I had used in Mexico.  I was very average but loved it!  I owe Nigel a lot.

 

Sporting highlight: 

In sailing, I ended up with a boot load of trophies from club and regional / national events.  I raced against some of the best in the country and learned such a lot from them.  Their attitude, ability, fitness, focus, preparation, training, concentration and even a bit of selfishness, if needed, was impressive .  Never blaming anyone or anything else for a bad result - the wind could be fickle, so they learned to work with it.  The good guys made their own luck!  You may have been "dumped on" in competition, so had to keep calm and work your way out of the mess.  Unlike triathlon, anyone could win a single race, but, it was the good guys who won regattas.  The best example I ever saw was a British National Champion (Colin Smith) with scores of 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 2nd, 3rd, 6th in a fleet of 205 boats.  He never won a race that week, but, never had a bad one either.  Mr Consistency!  The parallel with triathlon is that, if you model yourself on the good guys, then you will reach your potential and the results you deserve will come.  My best was 9th from 144 at the Laser Class Masters (AG) European Championships - I never won a race that week either!

 

In triathlon, I have been privileged to race for GBR a few times in AG and picked up a few podiums at National and Continental level.  I guess the ones that stand out are my first English title (Standard Duathlon M60-64) at Stockton and a European Long Distance bronze medal (M55-59) at Challenge Weymouth in 11:47 - though Outlaw was quicker in 11:33!  I have never actually won anything for individual swim, bike or run events - my performances all being quite mediocre.  But, I can do all three disciplines reasonably well - so I'm often in contention.

 

How the FANS scheme helped your training: Having FANS membership is a great boost to my training and really supports my triathlon aspirations.  It affords me free access to good quality local sports facilities.  Of course, I also have access to even more facilities from within the Sentinel Leisure Trust if I travel a little further.  The support is much appreciated.  Thanks also for "The Complete Gym" hoodie - very useful after cold outdoor training at this time of year!

Vicki Grice

Sport: Aqualton/Triathlon 

 

Competiton Level: Team GB age group 

 

Sporting journey,backgroud and history: I started swimming from the age of 7, which is actually a bit late compared the ‘norm’ and was a member of Oulton Broad Swimming and Diving Club (OBSDC) until the age of 18 where I left to go to university, during my time at the club I competed at local level, qualified as a Pool Lifeguard, ASA Assistant Swimming Teacher and was voted in as Female Club Captain. I was always sporty at school and enjoyed running although it was not until my late 20’s where I started to get back into sport again properly.

I spent the majority of my 20’s as a member of a gym although wasn’t really focused on anything specific, other than starting up swimming again and attending the masters sessions. This all changed in 2012 and I decided that I would run a half marathon the year I turned 30 as it was a challenge and give me something to focus on. After this I completed more running races and in 2013 completed my first Triathlon at Bungay. This was after years of watching my dad compete locally and him ribbing me about never knowing who was faster unless I entered the race – I beat him and the fastest time he’d ever been around the course too!!

Since then I have had local success at East Coast Triathlon, Beccles Tri, Victory Tri, Waveney Wildman and Sea Palling Aquathon series.

I’m a member of Beccles Triathlon Club (friendliest tri club in the world!), Lowestoft Road Runners and St Felix Masters Swim Club.

Sport and competing locally has given me the opportunity to be involved in some great experiences and meet some people I would now consider as close friends.

 

Sporting highlight: Ooo this is a hard one, obviously making the GB AG Team was a massive achievement and I was very proud to represent the country in Bratislava at the European Aquathlon Championships. I did ok during the race and learnt and am hoping I can build on my position at this year’s race in Ibiza in October.

But other highlights have been winning the Beccles Triathlon (my home tri – with all my club mates there to help me celebrate) and also completing the Long Course Weekend in Mallorca a full distance triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run) over 3 days 0 much more sociable than a full distance race!

 

How the FANS scheme helped your training: Being supported by the FANS scheme has been a great help to me and my training. It allows me to access gym facilities to be able to complete land training and strength and conditioning work, the equipment is perfect for these sessions. I can also access the tri-masters swim sessions to allow me to get a hard training session completed in addition to my club swims, the use of the sauna also helps stretch out sore muscles. Having the use of 5 facilities also helps to be able to train and meet up with other FANs members for joint sessions.

Oh and the hoodie is literally the warmest hoodie I have, it’s great before/after races to make sure you stay warm.

marcus nichols

Sport: Triathlon/Aquathlon

 

Competiton Level: Team GB Age Group 

 

Sporting journey,backgroud and history: Loved Cross Country at school (30yrs ago), but that was the last time I ran until recently. I’ve always enjoyed ‘extreme’ sports including bodyboarding, snowboarding, and was one of the very first people in the UK to attempt kite surfing way back in the late 90s.  Back to running. In 2011 I joined Bungay Black Dog Running Club. That re-ignited my passion. Within 2 years I’d run the Bungay marathon, and completed my first Ultra event ‘The Wall’ a 70 mile, 2 day run from Carlisle Castle to Gateshead, Newcastle. With new found friends doing ‘triathlon’ I thought I’d give it ago. 2013 saw me doing my first at Bungay Pool for the Waveney Triathlon (Super Sprint). I then fancied a bigger challenge so raced at the Fritton Lake Standard distance event. 2014 saw me run the London Marathon – that was an experience to remember. Luckily I’ll also be running it again in 2019.

 2015 was the year I first qualified to represent my Country for Team GB at Age Group level in the discipline ‘Aquathlon’. This involves a 1000 metre openwater swim, followed immediately by a 5000 metre run. For 2015 the European Aquathlon Championships was being held in Cologne, Germany. An amazing race starting in deep water in a marina on the River Rhine. Kicked, punched, and close to drowning was the first 200 metres, and something I’d happily forget!! Crossing the finish line is something I’ll never forget. So proud to have the opportunity, and made all the more special to share it with family.

 2016 was more tricky. I’d agreed with a few friends to do Vichy Ironman in August 2017 (3.8km swim / 112mi bike / 26.2mi run), so needed to do at least a few half Ironman distance events, so raced at the Outlaw Half at Holkham, and the Vitruvian at Rutland Water. However I had once again qualified for the European Aquathlon – this time in Chateauroux, France. The race was the week before my first Half Ironman, not ideally timing. I had a great race in hot conditions, and still performed better than expected a week later at the Outlaw Holkham Half.

 2017 was all about Ironman Vichy, but I still planned to race the Aquathlon again, still time in Bratislava. Luckily this was in May. Two other friends also qualified so it was lovely to travel and race with friends at such a high level. The trip was a success, but it was about 27 degrees on the run, and I’m not good in the heat. Bratislava was a beautiful place, and we took the opportunity to cycle from Vienna, back to Bratislava following thje flow of the River Danube.

 August came, and this time it was all about Ironman Vichy. A road trip with family and friends saw me racing in 36-38 degree heat in the blazing sunshine. I had a fantastic swim which was non-wetsuit in 24 degree water. The 112 mile bike was very much like the Norfolk/Suffolk landscape with plenty of agriculture. It was two laps, and by the second the heat was into the 30s and I was suffering. The marathon run that came was brutal. It was 36+ degrees with very little shade and I was just melting. I raced smart, and made it to the finish line in a little over 13 hours!!

 Since then it’s been rest, and preparing ready for the 2018 season. This year all my training is targeting the European Aquathlon Championships in Ibiza (October). With my entire season moulded around this I’m certain to put in my best performance yet. At time of writing (Feb) I’m still finalising build up races, but am sure to have fun leading up to Ibiza.

 Who knows what’s next… whatever it is I know it’ll be fun!

 

Sporting highlight: Representing Great Britain at the European Aquathlon Championships (Cologne, Germany 2015; Chateauroux, France 2016; Bratislava, Slovakia 2017; Ibiza, Spain 2018 (October).

 

How the FANS scheme helped your training: Competing at GB level becomes expensive, so having one less thing to worry about has helped substantially. Having access to my local swimming pool, and gym is crucial to my future success, and I’m currently using it at least 4 times per week.

emily woods

Sport: Artistic Roller Skating

 

Competiton Level: International 

 

Sporting journey,backgroud and history: 

Started skating in October 2009 and won my first British championships in 2011. I was a very quick learner and took to the sport. My dancing background really helped with the performance and posture side in my routines.

I am 7 times consecutive British champion, in 4 different age categories and this year’s 2018 British championships will be my first at senior level, now I’m 19 years old. I am very excited for this year and working very hard on my routines. I am a competitive skater and always aim for first place. 

2011 British champion for solo dance (Espoir)

2012 British champion for solo dance (Cadet)

2013 British champion for solo dance (Cadet)

2014 British champion for solo dance (Youth)

2015 British champion for solo dance (Youth)

2016 British champion for solo dance (Junior)

2017 British champion for solo dance (Junior)

 I have been in the GB squad for the last 7 years and participated in the Cup of Europe from 2011 to 2015. In 2016 I moved up to the junior category and was finally old enough to be selected and represent GB in the European (in Germany) and World championship (in Italy) were I placed 17th. This was one of my goals since starting competitive skating and was an honour to be the only skater selected out of the Junior category for solo dance.

In 2017 was my last year junior. After a successful British championships I represented GB in my second European (Italy) and World championships. However, last year they introduced the World Roller Games in Nanjing, China which was their world championships for each roller sport. I was very happy placing 14th, higher than my previous world championships.

 

Sporting highlight: The World Roller Games was definitely a highlight for me because it was the first ever one and hosted in Nanjing, China. I was able to do a little bit of exploring when out there and loved the culture and scenery. I loved going to see the purple mountain and many temples. The World Roller Games had over 4,000 athletes competing across 10 roller sports with each their own individual venue. I was so proud and honoured to be a part of this amazing experience and met so many incredible athletes from different countries who I have stayed in touch with. The opening ceremony was unbelievable seeing all the different nations come together in one big stadium and Chinese federation put on an amazing display. My favourite part was watching each country carry out their flags in the ceremony. 

 

How the FANS scheme helped your training: The FANS scheme has allowed me to use the sports hall far more often, than just my usual club sessions. This has been useful when creating routines and working out my intricate movements needed to skate my best. As well as the technical side which is very important in my routines. The use of the gym allows me to keep up my physical fitness and strength important parts of my body. Such as leg strength, abdominals and the ankle area. 

Tom Pullinger

Sport: Triathlon

 

Competiton Level: Team GB Age group 

 

Sporting journey,backgroud and history: I have been a regular runner for 20 years and competing in triathlon for 10 years. I taught myself front crawl swimming in Bungay pool 10 years ago when I decided to give triathlon a go, following several running injuries and found that the variety of training works well for me. I compete at all distances from sprint to Ironman, and have represented Team GB Age Group at the European Middle Distance Triathlon Championships in Italy in 2015 (1.2mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run) and also at the World Triathlon Championships in Chicago, USA, where I competed at Olympic distance triathlon in 2016. I am currently training for the European Middle Distance Duathlon Championships in Holland in May 2018, this event comprises a 13 mile run, a 60km bike ride then a 10km run.

 

Sporting highlight: Competing in Chicago, America put these events on well. The team parade, featuring countries from all over the world, took place on a closed off 6 lane highway, flanked by American cops was an amazing experience. Then racing with a backdrop of skyscrapers against a clear blue sky and through the tunnels that featured in Batman – The dark Knight, has given me memories to last forever.

 

How the FANS scheme helped your training: Having access to the pool for my swim training and the gym to work on my strength and fitness is helping to prepare for a tough year ahead, and is something I am really grateful for.

DECLAN MANNING

Sport: Athletics – Hammer throw, Discus & Shot put 

 

Competiton Level: GB UKSA Team member – INAS  international competition level 

 

Sporting journey,backgroud and history: Attended Ashley Special needs School in Lowestoft and got involved in the sports leaders programme.Initially focussed on cross country and track distance running.Moved into throwing events starting with DiscusJoined Co NAC athletics club and focussed on throwing Discus, Hammer and ShotSelected for the Mencap England Athletics Team and made the team to represent England in Paris at French National championshipSelected for the GB UKSA team for the INAS Global games in Italy.Current member of GB UKSA squad and have represented the GB on 7 occasions in National, European and Global competitions.Currently completing a  2 year assignment as a Parallel Academy development squad member with the British Athletics squad based at Loughborough Notified of selection for the GB UKSA team for the INAS European Championships in Paris in July 2018.Already pencilled in for the GB UKSA team for the INAS Global Games team in Brisbane in 2019

 

Sporting highlight: Winning Silver medal for Hammer & Bronze medal for Discus at the INAS European championships in Turkey in June 2016.

 

How the FANS scheme helped your training: As part of my training programme I attend the gym 3 times a week. This includes strength and conditioning programme as well as some sport specific movements.The opportunity to train with the correct equipment available locally to me in Bungay gym is invaluable in my sporting progression.

Joseph Drake

Sport: Sailing 

 

Competiton Level: Natitional 

 

Sporting journey,backgroud and history: I have been sailing competitively since I was 12 years old, I am now 17.  I started in a Topper sailing dinghy and in 2015 I finished 2nd in the National Championships. I have now moved on to a laser sailing dinghy, pictured above, In the laser nationals in 2017 which were held in Wales I finished 3rd.  Last Easter at the RYA Youth Nationals which is U21 I finished 6th. I qualified for the World Championships in 2017, which were held in Holland, where due to poor weather conditions I didn’t perform to the best of my ability.

 

Sporting highlight:  Just before Christmas I travelled to Palamos in Spain where I finished 3rd U19.

 

How the FANS scheme helped your training:

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