NHS Derby and Derbyshire staff member enjoys aquathlon success

NHS Derby and Derbyshire staff member Emma Holt is celebrating an excellent result at the World Aquathlon Championships in Slovakia and is already looking forward to her next challenge.

Emma, who is an Information Governance Assistant, finished seventh in her 25-29 age group at the championships in Samorin on August 18. Her time of 40min 23sec also made her the third best British athlete in her age group.

Aquathlons are administered by British Triathlon here in the UK, with international events overseen by World Triathlon. Distances of aquathlons can vary. Pool-based aquathlons often involve a 400 or 800m swim, while open water aquathlons a 750m swim; both are followed by a 5km run. International aquathlons, like the championships in Samorin, feature a 1000m open water swim followed by a 5km run.

Emma, who lives in Chesterfield, said: “Slovakia was a great experience being part of the British team. Even though I only met my team-mates at the airport, it felt so natural and like we had known each other for ages. We all share the love for the multi-sport and have so much in common!”

“It’s a sport for all ages. The oldest male was 80 and from Spain; the oldest female on the day was 79 and represented Team GB!”

Emma was also given the honour of carrying the British flag at the event’s opening ceremony.

Following her success in Slovakia, Emma has pre-qualified for the 2023 World Aquathlon Championships in Santa Eulalia, Ibiza. Her next event will be representing the GB Age Group Team in the 2022 European Aquathlon Championships in Bilbao, Spain on the September 23.

Emma began her journey as an aquathlete in 2019, when she was recovering from a running injury. While she was doing more swimming for her rehabilitation, she looked into aquathlons and decided to enter a local pool event. Emma came second to a female European Aquathlon Champion.

“That was so inspiring, and encouraged me to look into qualifying times to represent the GB Age-Group Team in international events”.

A month later, in August 2019, Emma entered the pool-based London Aquathlon with the aim of meeting the qualifying times. She finished first in her age category and achieved qualification for the 2020 European Aquathlon Championships in Austria and the 2020 World Aquathlon Championships in the Netherlands.

Unfortunately, both events were cancelled due to Covid. In the meantime, Emma has had to maintain her fitness and continue training through the pandemic to prepare for the 2022 competitions.

“It’s not been a smooth journey these past few years. Bereavement and injuries are examples of the setbacks I’ve faced, alongside the pressures that Covid has had on work and our personal lives. I have had to keep reminding myself why I am doing it and push myself through the difficult times. I am extremely lucky to be surrounded by family and close friends who have been supporting me on this journey.”

“Covid seems to have had a negative impact on people’s mindset, and it would be great to see people get involved in different activities again – I get such a buzz from seeing people engage and achieve! You just need to keep on doing the things you love and believe in yourself!”

Emma joined Hardwick Clinical Commissioning Group straight from 6th Form in 2015 and has continued to work in the Information Governance team through various reorganisations, including the transition to become NHS Derby and Derbyshire Integrated Care Board.