Michael Lisle believes a laser focus on sprint distance triathlon in 2022 was a crucial factor in his victory at the British Aquathlon Championships.
The 68-year-old, from Liverpool, has competed across different distances during his career, but last year turned his attentions to the sprint distance and aquathlons in an attempt to capitalise on his excellent record in the water.
The change paid off for Lisle as he took age group gold at the 2022 British Aquathlon Championships in the male 65-69 category.
The result capped a fantastic year in domestic competition for the proud Liverpudlian that also saw him take bronze in the same age group at the 2022 Triathlon England Aquathlon Championships.
"I have done triathlon for many years, mainly Olympic distance or standard distance and sprint distance,” he said. "But I cut down to sprint distance and aquathlons because swimming is my strongest point and in the aquathlon, obviously swimming plays a major part.
"It has been a boost for my career. A lot of my friends seem obsessed with longer distance races, and I have done long distance races, but I have realised I am stronger at shorter distance events and stronger when swimming is important.
"The rise of aquathlon over the years has seen it go from a tag on to the main event to a main event in its own right at the British Triathlon Championships. There are a lot of us who are fairly strong swimmers who enjoy doing aquathlons because being a good swimmer gives you a boost."
There are a variety of triathlon, paratriathlon and multisport opportunities for British Triathlon Home Nation members to become national champion in 2023, as well as English, Scottish and Welsh Championship titles and medals on offer.
Lisle's fine domestic form was also translated on the international stage, where he went from strength to strength last year.
He finished fifth at the European Triathlon Multisport Championships in Bilbao and sixth at the World Triathlon Aquathlon Championships in Samorin during an exciting year of competition which also opened up opportunities for Lisle to enjoy his love of travelling.
"Triathlon has given me a great chance to travel and I really enjoy it," Lisle added.
"I am doing a sport which I am fairly strong at in my age group these days and over the years we have combined it with holidays, so we have been all over the place – from China and Mexico to Australia and the USA. It is a great lifestyle to have if you can keep it going.”
Lisle also competed at the World Triathlon Sprint and Mixed Relay Championships in Montreal, finishing 14th as the first British finisher in his age group.
When not on his travels, Lisle finds time to coach his friends and newcomers to the sport at Mersey Tri Club and he believes that the focus on aquathons and shorter distance events has helped prolong his career, while that is not the only advantage.
"It is much easier to travel because you haven't got to take a bike with you everywhere you go,” he joked.
"For many years, taking a bike abroad was a quite an operation at times. The switch to sprint triathlon and aquathon has been quite convenient, and I can train for it and generally remain injury free.”
Find out more about representing the Great Britain Age-Group Team and competing in British Age-Group Championships here.