From music lecturer to triathlon champion

It was cheers all round as Dan Solly, the Deputy Team Leader for Performing Arts at Truro College, became the IntoTri Cornish Triathlon champion.

Dan Solly standing on the winners podium on the beach holding his trophy
Dan Solly on the beach with his winners trophy

Dan’s success came by coming second in every race he competed in across the season, which led to an unmatched overall score.

“I’m still getting used to the fact that I won the vets age group competition this year,” began Dan. “I knew going into the season that I had a good chance to podium, but to go all the way and win the age group is just a wonderful feeling. I’m grateful to friends, family and my coach for giving me the best opportunity to get to this point.”

Dan met his coach, Julian Wills, when he began taking part in the College’s Health, Wellbeing and Sport (HWS) sessions where an old triathlon t-shirt sparked up the conversation and started the partnership.

“One day Julian said I think we need to formalise your training a bit more because he could see that I was trying to improve and wanting to compete at the top level in Cornwall,” said Dan. “One of the first things we did was have an honest conversation as I’d put on a little bit of weight, which for triathlon is difficult and you need to have as good a weight to power ratio as possible or else you just can’t be competitive.”

To help Dan reach his goal, he was put in touch with another member of the HWS team, who helped him lose two stone.

“With that my training plans ramped up and the intensity got more and more until I reached this season. I did all the races and managed to get Cornish champion. It was quite a journey. Julian’s been really supportive all the way, he’s an incredible triathlon coach so he’s helped me with my technique on the bike and on the run and with swimming.

“The reason Truro College has been so important for this is that I’ve been able to access the early morning or afternoon sessions, either working with students or in the staff only sessions and the occasional session in the middle of the day. This has enabled me to compete at this level. It’s been the perfect combination of factors,” said Dan.

Although he’s having a short break before the winter training begins, Dan is still a regular at the HWS sessions and always does his best to encourage his students to attend the free sessions as well.