HE did not expect to so early in his career, but teenager Ashley Hogg will represent Great Britain for the first time this weekend.
The Knutsford-based swimmer will race against older rivals in the German National Open Water Championships as preparation for a debut at the European Junior version later this month.
After that, the global edition awaits in Israel in August.
“It’s going to be a bit manic isn’t it?” said the 16-year-old, who represents Winsford Swim Team.
“I’ll be kept very busy, so I’m glad my GCSEs are out of the way!”
Hogg impressed selectors at British Swimming with his performance in a qualifying event – The Great North Swim – last month.
He was the fastest in his age category to complete a 5km course at Windermere, finishing before even the Portuguese senior champion.
His time, 57:31.5, was five minutes quicker than his closest rival.
Hogg said: “I thought I had an outside chance of making the British team, but if I’m honest I didn’t know if it was possible.
“But I studied the selection criteria and thought ‘why not?’ “The conditions were perfect and I swam well, somehow finding that last bit of adrenaline and energy I needed to win.
“I’m happy because my season, and most of the training I’ve done, has been with this in mind.
“It felt like forever waiting for the phone to ring to confirm I’d been selected – I just sat next to it and refused to go to bed for two days!”
Hogg, who learned to swim at Knutsford’s Vikings club, is refusing to get carried away.
Getting his hands on the national team’s colours – he had still not received his kit when talking to the Guardian this week – might change that.
“I’m looking forward to that, doesn’t every athlete?” he said.
“It’s exciting, and at the moment I don’t feel too nervous about what’s ahead.
“I’m about to experience something completely new, but want to make the most of it and put myself on the radar.”