A Gainsborough triathlete has surpassed even his own high expectations by taking bronze in the European Championships.
Jordan Skelly returned home from Geneva with a medal in his age category, a top 10 place overall and the experience of representing his country on the big stage.
The 22-year-old, who celebrates his birthday next week, gave himself plenty of time to adapt to the conditions and environment, arriving in Geneva on Thursday ahead of Sunday’s race.
Speaking after his return to Gainsborough, he said it was a good decision: “This gave me adequate time to learn vital course knowledge prior to my race and to have some practice on the route.
“Arriving early also gave me the opportunity to gain full benefit of the GB team atmosphere with races on the Friday. And the Elite races on the Saturday with multiple World Champion Javier Gomez heading the names in the mens field.
By Sunday had arrived I was fully into the spirit of the event and thoroughly enjoying the camaraderie of the GB team.
“As race morning on the Sunday arrived I was at total ease with the event and rather than the usual pre race nerves most suffer with. I couldn’t wait to get going and enjoy my race in such a fantastic location.”
Skelly has had a fine year in the multi-discipline sport, and although he hadn’t set his sights on a particular finishing position, he was going out to impress in the GB colours.
“Leading into Geneva my racing year had surpassed all expectations, despite this I still was uncertain how I would fair at a European level with it being my first event of this scale,” he said.
“With that in mind my target was simply to enjoy the race, and give the absolute best performance possible on the day regardless as to how much pain this may incur.”
Fresh from open water swimming sessions with Lincoln Vulcans, Skelly was prepared for the first leg of the Olympic distance event, and it showed – he exited the water among athletes who had previously been stronger than him in the water.
Next was a 40k bike route, including a tough climb up the Chemin de l’limperatrice, peaking at 12 per cent gradient.
A strong finish on the bike gave Skelly a sub-hour time and set him up nicely for the 10k run in front of big crowds.
He said: “The atmosphere and support around the run course was magnificent and something I had never experienced before. With such a tremendous atmosphere my mind was taken away from the rising temperatures and deceptively challenging course.
“As I was honing down on the finish straight, reaching the blue carpet I gave everything to the line to once again break two hours at the distance.
“It wasn’t until the last 5metres before the line that the commentator announced my name and that I was finishing in bronze Medal position in the Male 20-24 Age Group.”
Skelly finished the race in a time of in 1:59:28, thanks to his 33:55 10k run.
The youngster was delighted: “This by far surpassed my expectations coming into the event.
“To add to that once the final results were administered it was confirmed I had also finished ninth overall.
“I come away from these Championships with having a grand experience representing Great Britain in such a stunning location.”
The triathlete was supported by family and friends, and aided in his training by Gainsborough and Morton Striders.