Schoolboy triathletes win Team GB selections
THESE schoolboy triathletes have won call-ups to represent Great Britain.
Both Arran Rae, 16, and Oliver Swallow, 14, will compete in Turkey next year at the European Under 19 Championships after producing stunning qualifying performances to beat off competition from hundreds of other hopefuls.
Oliver, who's studying his first year of GCSEs, was shocked to make the squad considering his tender years.
The Braintree resident will be one of the youngest in the event. He said: "I couldn't really believe it to be honest.
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"I was going in to it as a bit of a dark horse at 14 and not really knowing where I stood. To find out that I'd qualified was unbelievable really."
The triathlon event consists of swimming in open water, cycling and running.
Arran, 16, from Woodham Ferrers is hoping to emulate the Olympic success of the Brownlee brothers who he watched scoop a gold and bronze in the discipline for Great Britain at London 2012.
"You never know it could be the Swallow brothers next," he said with reference to the fact the Oliver's younger brother has also taken to the sport.
"Seeing them (the Brownlee brothers) run past I didn't want to be there, I wanted to be out training and getting there myself."
The duo from New Hall School, Chelmsford train at a host of local clubs, including Chelmsford AC.
They are also part of the Discovery Tri Club which uses several of the school's facilities including: a 400 metre running track, 25 metre swimming pool and open cycling land.
Oliver was spotted as a potential talent at the age of 10 by Wendy Staines, herself a former GB competitior, while training at Halstead Swimming Club. Arran on the other hand entered a school trialthlon competition at the age of 12 and never looked back.
Combining study and sport is a tricky combination as training often runs for six days and 12 hours a week but trips like this one to Turkey in the middle of next year make it all worthwhile.
Arran said: "It's a real honour to get in and it was like all my Christmas presents at once, getting the GB kit and everything.
"You get the enjoyment from it in the end and it's just that adrenaline rush that makes it all worth it."
Director of Sport at New Hall School, Shaun Winsor, said: "Arran and Oliver are both great athletes and it is fantastic to see their hard work paying off.
"With the exceptional facilities available at New Hall School, we are able to nurture every child's talents, and it is wonderful when a student's talents translates to national and possibly, in this case, international success."