Teenage triathlete star Olivia Mathias has set her sights high as she prepares to head to Austria for the ETU European Championships.
The 18-year-old junior, who had a terrific season in 2016, is juggling sporting ambition with taking her A-level exams.
“I would like to try to medal at the Europeans,” said Mathias, who was 14th at the showpiece event last year.
“Then for the rest of the season I would like to stay consistent in all of my racing and hopefully qualify for the World Championships in September, which is one of my main targets.”
Mathias will fly to Austria on Wednesday ahead of her race in Kitzbuhel two days later. She qualified for the trip to Austria after winning her first event of the year, despite being hampered by a knee injury leading up to the event.
At the Llanelli Sospan Sprint Triathlon, the second round of the British Triathlon Youth and Junior Super Series, she finished almost 38 seconds clear of the field.
Mathias completed the swim section in 10-5-55, broke clear of the pack as planned with the help of Sophie Alden in the cycling (35-24-40) and held her advantage during the run (18-35-65).
“I was really pleased with my times as I didn’t know how it would go because of the injury,” she said. “It wasn’t the best preparation and I didn’t know what to expect.”
'I have found it quite tough this year'
Last year Mathias produced the performance of her life to be crowned junior ladies’ champion at the ETU Triathlon European Cup in the Netherlands.
She also won silver for Great Britain as part of the relay team at the ITU World Triathlon Championships just a few days after she finished 17th in the individual event.
The Foston teenager will not be competing in the team relay in Austria because she will fly home early to continue her studies.
Mathias said: “I have found it quite tough this year.
“It has been stressful trying to fit everything in, but if you can stay on top of it that helps.
“Having the support around me of my mum and dad, and my coaching team, is important as they are not putting any pressure on me.”
Mathias had considered not going to Austria because of her A-levels, but said she had been quite lucky with the championship dates fitting in with her exams.
The Kesteven and Granthan Girls School pupil, who is taking A-levels in biology, design and technology, and media studies, wants to go to Loughborough University to study industrial design.
A member of both Newark Athletic Club and Newark Swimming Club, Mathias is based at the Loughborough Triathlon Performance Centre, where she trains up to four times a week.
Her father, Steve, said her training included around five swimming sessions a week, two or three on a bike and a further three or four running.