Former Spalding High School pupil Lucy Nell is set for her international debut after winning the national triathlon title on Saturday.
The 25-year-old flying officer with the Royal Air Force was in superb form at the Dambuster Triathlon at Rutland Water as she picked up three awards to clinch a spot in the British age group team for Canada.
As well as winning the overall women’s trophy, she was crowned national champion and also won the RAF title - beating all of her male colleagues.
In blazing sunshine, Nell’s performance was just as hot as the weather as the twice Spalding Sprint Triathlon victor completed the 1500m swim in 21:03, the 42km bike stage in 1.10.50 and the 10km run in 39:27 which, along with her transition times, gave her a time of 2:13:15.
She finished 34th overall out of 777 finishers and won the women’s race by more than a minute-and-a-half.
The quality of Nell’s performance has left her targeting a podium place in Edmonton at th end of August.
She said: “It was certainly one of my best performances and I am so pleased to have made the team for Canada.
“I was pretty good when I was younger but I just missed out on making the British team, and then took a break from competing when I went to university, but I am so pleased to have made it now.”
“I went into the race aiming to finish in the top four in my age group to earn selection, although it was a bit of a last-minute decision to enter as the previous qualifier hadn’t gone to plan.
“There was a very good swimmer, Hannah Lord, in the field and she was half-a-minute ahead of me coming out of the water but I took the lead three or four minutes into the bike stage and then led for the rest of the way.”
Nell admits it is a tough challenge to find the right balance between work and sport.
She works long hours as an RAF junior doctor at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham but competing at a high standard in a demanding sport also requires dedication, but if her performance on Saturday is anything to go by she is seems to be hitting the right balance.
She added: “I’d had a very busy week at work last week so it was fantastic to win.
“I just went out hard and got the win, which I am very happy about.
“You have to aim high so I will go to Canada looking to get a medal.”
Meanwhile, three members of Spalding Triathlon Club were also in action at Rutland Water.
James Graham finished 369th in 2:39:57 – including a 25:12 swim, 1:18:02 bike and 52:43 run); Aimee Stocker was 415th in 2:42:15 (33:28, 1:18:32, 47:54) and Edward Holliday was 507th in 2:49:41 (34:09, 1:13:31, 58:43).