RN SAR pilot selected for GB team at World Championships
Lt Sam Thompson currently serving in 771 Naval Air Squadron, Search and Rescue based at RNAS Culdrose has been selected for the Great Britain team participating in the forthcoming Triathlon World Championships which are taking place in Auckland, New Zealand between 14th - 22nd October 2012.
Originally from the Isle of Whithorn in Galloway, Sam only started competing in triathlons three years ago when he took a break from competitive dinghy racing. Since then he quickly discovered more enjoyment from the multi-discipline sport and hasn’t looked back. Over the last three years Sam has completed three IronMan triathlons, most recently finishing IronMan UK (IMUK) in the top 200.
It was the build up to the IMUK that saw Sam post a time good enough for Great Britain selection at Olympic level. “It was a bit of a shock to get the email to say that I had qualified” says Sam, “I only entered the event to practice my transitions for IronMan as I never normally race short distances”.
Since finishing IMUK at the end of July, Sam took a few weeks off training and then started trying to convert his technique from ‘racing long’ to an all out, red line effort for two hours. This is a change that he has found hard, pushing himself harder than he normally would.
With the pace of his flying training at 771 Naval Air Squadron increasing, Sam is only able to spend a week in Auckland which is less than ideal but he says ‘I am very lucky to be part of an understanding and supportive Squadron that can allow me to train and race as much as possible.’
Taking advantage of his elevated sporting prowess, Sam has initiated a Squadron cycling team, with their own custom designed cycling kit and has a training schedule planned for the off season in order to raise the standard of fitness within the Squadron and has a number of events planned for next year. Already the team has participated in the Cornish Festival of Sport, in the Women’s only Cycletta, 100km and 150km Sportives, Olympic Triathlon and Sprint Triathlon and there are also entries into the Lands End 100 mile sportive later in October.
“I am very proud of Sam and his selection to represent Great Britain this year at the World Triathlon Championships” said Lt Cdr Martin Shepherd, Commanding Officer of 771 Naval Air Squadron. “Sam has worked hard from joining the Squadron, to qualify as a Search and Rescue pilot, but also to capitalize on his sport and improve the fitness levels of the Squadron through his cycling initiative. I know that Sam will represent the Squadron, Culdrose, the Royal Navy and Great Britain with distinction and we are all wishing him every success.”
Lt Sam Thompson said “It’s a great accolade to be asked to represent the nation at such a high profile event and to be able to rub shoulders with the Brownlee brothers after their Olympic success.”