Dalby triathlete’s comeback after pandemic cancels season
AFTER training one year for a triathlon in March only for it to be cancelled due to coronavirus, a strong pre-season for a Dalby State High School (DSHS) student has awarded him a spot at the state level.
Seven months on, Mitchell Hemmings has been selected in the 2020-2021 Development Squad for Triathlon Queensland, one of his highest achievements for him to date.
He now has his eyes set on two competitions in Raby Bay and the Sunshine Coast this month, and pending border restrictions, two more in Canberra and Tasmania next year.
Mitchell has been a triathlon runner for over two years, after receiving encouragement from his PE teacher Bronwyn Henschell.
"I was a swimmer originally, and I made it to nationals for it but I just didn't enjoy it anymore, the interest wasn't there," he said.
"Then Ms Henschell suggested it to me one day, and said I should put my name down for a competition at Kawana on the coast."
The competition at the Sunshine Coast is used for athletes to qualify for their own regions, with Mitchell competing for a spot in the Darling Downs team.
He was able to come ninth overall, and first for his region, igniting a love for his new sport.
His latest achievements include making the school boys team at State Championships in February where he came 7th, and from there he was selected for the development team.
To Mitchell, the arduous sport is a breath of fresh air for him, saying there was a spark after competing in his first triathlon.
"I found it enjoyable competing in a variety of sports, and it's more of a lifestyle" he said.
"From a training point of view as well, you're travelling around, meeting new people, and it's just enjoyable."
DSHS Deputy principal Bronwyn Henschell believed in Mitchell back in 2018, and was able to help create a training regimen to improve his fitness, which allowed him to compete at a representative level.
Ms Henschell has now stood down as his coach, with Toby Somerville taking the job in the last few months.
The underwhelming cancellation of the Hervey Bay triathlon this year due to coronavirus did put a dampener on Mitchell's aspirations for 2020.
"I was pretty disappointed to miss out on that, as it was quite a big achievement to go, and I had been working towards it for 12 months," he said.
"But I've worked through that, and belted out a good pre season, so I'm ready for what's next this year."