I started swimming from a very young age, when my mum Margo threw my in the deep end of my local pool and told me to swim! If only it were that easy. I started swimming with my local club at the age of 9 or 10. We had three sessions of swimming a week in the evening consisting of mainly 2-3km sessions. Obviously a little later on I realised under 10km a week of swimming wasn’t enough. I was selected to represent Munster in the Inter-provincial swimming competition when I was 14. That was a big achievement from someone at my local club.
I was 16 years of age when I decided to get on the bike and lace up the running shoes and start triathlon. The idea of starting triathlon all came about when my dad showed me some pictures of when he competed (back in the day eh?). Back when wearing speedos throughout the whole race was natural and there wasn’t any second glances!
I bought what felt like a steel/lead bike for €300 and began my training. I wasn’t on any special programme, 20km easy whenever I felt like going out. My running was pretty simple too, mostly hard and as fast as I could 5km or 7km two nights a week,maybe more. I didn’t train with any bike or running club. A friend of my dad (Martin Kirwan) told me about a Talent Identification day in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, with Triathlon Ireland. I needed a 1500m running time and a 200m swimming time.
I had never been on a running track before in my life. I ran as fast as I could for 1500m around the track and my dad clocked the time, 4 minutes 45 seconds. I sent both times away to Triathlon Ireland and was selected to attend the Talent Identification day. We were due to swim the 200m time trial that morning and the 1500m run that evening. There was a points system where you had to get 160 points or above to be selected on to the Irish elite squad. I clocked a personal best in the swim of 2:10 for the 200m. Next up was the run, this was the hard part, the second time in my life ever being on a running track. I clocked a 4 minute 29 second 1500m taking 16 seconds off my original time. I had made the standard for the Irish Elite Triathlon Junior Squad. I was over the moon, or in Irish Táim ar mhuin na muice.
From there I have reached many of my goals and targets that I set for myself. My first international race was in Portcawl, Wales, where I finished 9th overall in the youth race (u16). I also raced in Sunderand, England where I finished 3rd overall in the youth race. The following year I was selected for the European youth relay championships in Aguilas, Spain. (Team of 3 race across very short distances.) We finished 11th out of 20 Countries. I also entered my first European cup the following day on the same course where I finished 25th out of 75 juniors. I have also raced in European cups in France and Ireland.
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