“I think in the moment, when you step on the ice in the senior competitions with top quality skaters, you leave respect to the side.”
For British short track speed skater Ethan Treacy, the last few years have seen him compete against his idols at the European Championships and at the British Championships.
But Ethan isn’t allowing himself to feel overawed by the experience and, if his results are anything to go by, he will continue in this fashion when he reaches the biggest of stages – the Olympics.
“We are always chasing each other’s heels”
Ethan is part of a trio of speed skaters, but more importantly, he is part of a trio of brothers looking to dominate globally in the sport.
Ethan, elder brother Farrell and younger sibling Niall all represent Great Britain having grown up and trained in Henley-in-Arden.
Farrell achieved a dream when he was able to compete in PyeongChang at the Olympic Winter Games in 2018 and he reached his target of finishing top 16 in 1000m, as he finished 14th.
LISTEN: Episode 35: Ethan Treacy
Ethan got introduced to the sport through Farrell and acknowledges the role all his brothers play for each other as they go through their careers.
“Growing up, I played football, tennis with my brothers and even in the smallest of things, we would always be competing,” he explained.
“When one of us is struggling, our first port of call would be the other brothers and we would provide that support.
“I think in terms of pushing us forward with the competitive edge we’ve had, we are always chasing each other’s heels.
“With Farrell being the oldest and having had quite a lot of success by going to the Games, that’s something to aim for.”
The three brothers are currently part of the National Training Program in Nottingham, living and training together full time.
This drive and determination has its benefits for Ethan, but one thing can get on his nerves.
“Probably the only downside is that I share a house with Niall, and sometimes he can be the annoying little brother again,” he said.
“Apart from that, it’s not too bad!”
“My strongest season was last season where I made a big leap”
The 2017-18 season proved to be an exceptional one for Ethan, as he made his debut at the European Championships.
He also finished third at the British Championships that season, but his 1000m bronze medal on the European Star Class circuit stands out.
“That was a pretty good milestone to hit because when I was a junior, I never made the podium so that was pretty special.
“My strongest season was last season where I made a big leap and I started training on the national program.
“I went to the European Championships and in the relay, to skate my first full international debut, it was special to be on the ice with people who are my idols.”
“It was always an aspiration to make it at the top level”
The journey to becoming a short track speed skater can be a long and treacherous road to tread.
But Ethan felt, as he was progressing through the initial years, he could crack the code to reaching the top of his sport.
“It was always an aspiration to make it at the top level and there would always be milestones that I would aim for.
“You always have bits of doubt creeping in, but so long as I keep my head focused and have the clear goals, things will be alright.”
With him recently competing at his first World Cup tournaments, Ethan wanted to use the opportunity to gain as much experience as possible.
“At the start of the season, I went to my first World Cups, and the main aspect was to gain as much experience as possible,” he added.
“Once I was there, the results and the outcomes came as a shock to me as I went in blind-sighted and I had to come away and re-evaluate what I had achieved.”
“I train and compete best when I’m focusing on myself”
In an interview in the summer of 2018, Ethan admitted in the qualifying periods for World Cup tournaments he did not pay too much attention to how others did.
He simply focused on his own processes and, looking back, he realises that is when he is at his best.
“I think for me, I train and compete best when I’m focusing on myself.
“I haven’t always done that and there have been times when my focus has moved away from myself to other people, results or end outcomes.
“That is when my natural level of performance seems to dip.
“I found when I focus on myself and put everything internally, my level of performance seems to pick up at a faster rate.”
Even though he is a university student, having started last September, Ethan’s focus remains clearly on the ice and has ambitions in the interim.
“In the immediate term, we’ve got the set of European World Cups at the start of February in Germany and Italy,” he added.
“I will then go to the Winter University Games and that will be my milestone event for the season.
“I’m not really sure what to expect from that since I have never been at a multi-sport event before.
“From then, it is a question of keep improving and get to the Olympic year at a level where I can get to qualify.”
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