TOM Priest has earned a place in Team GB’s Aquathlon ranks for the 2014 World Championships.
The 27-year-old sports lecturer at Weymouth College won bronze at the European Championships in Cologne to book his ticket for the world event, which will take place in Canada this August.
Aquathlon, similar to the triathlon but without the cycling section, is a dual-discipline race consisting of a 1,000m open-water swim followed by a 5,000m run.
Priest’s time of 35 minutes and 14 seconds put him almost two full minutes ahead of the next fastest competitor, Ukrainian Olexandr Khramtsov, and the time was enough to earn him the bronze.
Following the race, Priest said: “Racing at my first international event, I was a complete mix of nerves and excitement.
“The open-water swim didn’t allow for much personal space, which made it hard to establish any kind of swimming rhythm, so I was really pleased with my time.
“I am now looking forward to pushing on with training and local races ready for the World Championships.”
Aquathlon is not yet an Olympic sport and is completely self-funded. Even those racing for Great Britain are expected to pay for their own travel and accommodation for the championships.
Weymouth College, which is one of only five UK colleges ranked ‘outstanding’ for sport by Ofsted, was therefore pleased to sponsor the lecturer to race in Cologne.
Rob Jones, the vice-principal at the college, said: “Everyone at Weymouth College is really proud of Tom’s achievement.
“We want to provide a positive learning environment and inspiring tutors for our students – sport lecturers don’t get much more inspiring than Team GB medal winners.”