Callum Miller, 14, is the first GTC member to qualify for the new Triathlon Scotland Scottish Academy.
The aim of the Triathlon Scotland Performance Programme (TSPP) is to develop Scottish athletes capable of representing Great Britain. The TSPP dovetails with the British Triathlon World Class Performance Programmes.
As a result, the Scottish Academy has been launched. The Academy replaces the Foundation Squad and is aligned with the British Triathlon Athlete Development Framework and the British Triathlon Performance Pathway.
Callum, of Bearsden, is thrilled to qualify for the Academy following a trial day at the University of Stirling. To qualify for the day, times had to be submitted to see if youngsters were considered fast enough for the trial.
On the day, the young athletes completed time trials in running and swimming. These times were then calculated by a points’ matrix on British Triathlon’s website to see if the youngsters had the minimum requirement of points for being in the academy squad.
Callum says: “The minimum for qualification was 320 points and on the day I achieved a score of 337, which I was pleased with.
“I exceeded my own expectations in the swim, really being pushed by hard competition, and achieved a time of 02:17 for 200m freestyle.
“In the run, I was a few seconds off of PB pace, which was frustrating. It was, however, the very last activity after a hard day’s work so I cut myself some slack.
“I was absolutely ecstatic when I found out I had got a place on the squad. It has always been one of my goals to be a part of Triathlon Scotland and to have achieved that on my first trial, I was over the moon. In fact, I still am.
“I am so excited to go on camps with the squad and meet and learn from other dedicated athletes.”
The academy will give Callum access to high-level coaches for support, guidance and teaching. He adds: “It will also mean I can learn as much as possible from other focused athletes, so I can hopefully get into a good mindset and train extra hard on squad camps.
“The camps are another huge part of the team for me, as entire weekends focusing on my passion will hopefully improve my physical health within the sport and encourage my drive to achieve more and more in triathlon.
“The academy will help me to progress through the pillars of triathlon. These are pillars that when put together can construct a better athlete.”
The aims of the Academy
Training as play, so the young athletes enjoy training.
Informed choice, so they make good decisions.
Learning to lead, so they take on responsibilities.
Intelligent training, so they training with purpose.
Intelligent racing, so they make the right race decisions.
One day, one race, which is doing the right things when it really counts.
Callum says: “The academy will help me improve this and that is why it means so much to qualify.”
Callum enjoys triathlon because of “the variety”.
He says: “I used to be a swimmer, but felt I could do more. I then transferred to triathlon and since then I have felt much better and had a huge variety of training.
“I love triathlon because of the capability it gives me. It gives me the confidence to get into open water and swim in lochs and the sea and go on long runs without taking breaks but just taking in everything around me.
“I also love the adrenaline and the buzz I get from flying about country roads or mountains on my bike.
“The racing is another huge aspect of triathlon for me. I am quite a competitive person, so it is good to have an outlet for that.
“I also really enjoy the company of great people. I like the atmosphere of spurring on teammates, younger or older, so they too can achieve their goals within sport. The fact that it is a solo sport I feel is irrelevant as everyone is just one big team.”
Callum especially likes the social aspect of GTC. He said: “It is such a laid back club with phenomenal coaches, role models and athletes within it. Everybody in GTC is so welcoming and friendly, and also very encouraging and happy.
“There is never a dull session. Whether you are a top-of-the-class athlete or someone trying to lose a couple pounds before next year, GTC is definitely a great place to come.
“Racing at GTC is great too, as there is no pressure to win or top 10 or anything like that. As long as you do your best that is all that matters.
” I love the amazing friends I have at GTC. Not just other athletes but the coaches, as they are all here to have a good time and do triathlon. I have definitely made friends for life at GTC.
“I cannot exaggerate simply how many amazing role models there are at GTC.”
Callum has big hopes for his triathlon career. However, sensibly, he has broken them down into smaller chunks to achieve one at a time.
He says: “My first goal was to get into the academy squad which I have just done. My next goal is to next year qualify for the under 20s team once I am in the youth age group, which one of my friends, Mia [Padmanabhan], has just done.
“After that it all gets a lot bigger with the European Sprint Distance championships in Sweden in 2020. Training will then take over for a while until the ultimate two goals.
“My first goal is to podium at an Ironman event, either 70.3 or ful Ironman. I aspire to be an Ironman, which is why I find some extraordinary role models at GTC.
“The next big goal is to come top 10 at the Ironman world championships in Kona, Hawaii. When I tell people this, I am told it is farfetched. It is, and I couldn’t say it any other way. But goals are possible if you work hard enough.”