Dorset Lecturer is World Top 10 Aquathlete
6:56am 16th September 2014
A Weymouth College lecturer has become an international sporting success in the "aquathlon".
27-year-old sports lecturer Tom Priest took fifth place at the Aquathlon World Championships in Edmonton in Canada last month in a time of 30 minutes and 44 seconds, less than a minute off the medal positions.
The Aquathlon consists of a 750m open-water swim followed by a 5,000m run. It's similar to the triathlon, without the cycling section. Unlike the triathlon, though, it is not an Olympic sport, meaning the British team gets no government or private backing. Tom has to pay for his own travel and accommodation to attend international events such as the World and European Championships.
Even at home he has to juggle training for the events, which he does six days a week, with his work for college.
The success in Edmonton caps off a busy year for Tom, who first started training for his first competition of the season in October last year.
'I thought this may be my last chance to have a go at elite-level sport, so I entered a few competitions and did really well. Then I got selected by Great Britain for the European championships in May this year, got a bronze medal and was selected for the World Championships. And the rest is history!"
And he's not planning on letting up any time soon. He'll be spending most of this winter on a bike in preparation to add triathlon success to his aquathlon exploits.
Weymouth College principal Liz Myles says Tom has had a great deal of support from all on campus.
"Being fifth in the world is a great achievement and I'm sure it will inspire our students."