IT seems unfathomable that for someone who enjoyed as successful a year as Beth Potter did in 2021, one of her most memorable moments was of having what she describes as a “breakdown”.  

Scotland’s top triathlete was at her home in Leeds while the Tokyo Olympics were in full swing last summer, despite the fact she had the quality to potentially be there in not one but two sports. 

Even with the strength-in-depth of women’s triathlon in Britain, Potter has established herself as one of the very best in the country but with the Olympic triathlon team selected before the Games were postponed, Potter didn’t make the cut. 

A place in the athletics team was also within her grasp – such is the level of her running, the 2016 Olympian still had a shot at selection for the 10,000m despite no longer being a track athlete – but with the Olympic trials clashing with one of the most important events in the triathlon calendar, she missed her chance to make a bid for the Olympic athletics squad. 

All of which culminated in Potter losing it during a training session mid-Games. 

“I remember doing a session and having a breakdown after my first set – I was so upset,” she says. 

“I hardly watched the Olympics. I kept an eye on the results and watched a few things but I found it really tough.  

“I just found it really, really hard not being there.” 

That Olympic fortnight may have been a low point for Potter in 2021, but there were plenty of highlights too.  

Scotland’s top triathlete broke into the world’s top 15 for the first time, as well as winning back-to-back World Cup events. Beating some of the best the world has to offer would be impressive enough, but the 30-year-old also scaled even loftier heights; running a world record. 

In the end, Potter’s time of 14 minutes 14 seconds for 5k on the road was never ratified due to the race not meeting international standards but nevertheless, few would dispute it was an incredible run from the Glaswegian. 

However, Potter has high hopes 2022 will be even more successful. 

She begins her season this weekend, at the Europe Cup race in Quarteira, Portugal; a low-key event before she makes the step up to the top tier World Series races later in the season. 

Potter is someone who is always striving for more but she does acknowledge a strong winter of training has left her in better shape fitness-wise than she ended last season. 

“I’ve been working a lot on my bike and I feel in a good place, definitely in a better place than I was even in November. I’ve still been working on my swim too so it’ll be interesting to see where exactly I am at the start of the season,” she says. 

“I feel like the start of the season is often a bit of a car crash for me so I’d be better to have that car crash at a lower-key race and blow all the cobwebs away before the bigger events come round.” 

Having spent most of her life as a runner – she was a 10,000m specialist who made the switch to triathlon in 2017 – it has always been the swim and the bike which has presented Potter with the most room to improve. 

Her regular training partners, the Olympic champions Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, ensure she is pushed to the limit daily and, she believes, significant gains have been made in recent months. 

And with her world ranking of 14 ensuring she will have a better starting position in the big races, it bodes well for 2022 to be her best year yet. 

“I feel like I’m close to getting it all right but some parts still need a little bit of work,” she says.  

“Alistair has given me a lot of help on the bike so that’s been good and it’s very inspiring having both of them to train with. They’re so helpful with giving me feedback and I really believe they want me to do well. 

“I think I showed last season that I’m physically able – I’m just as good physically as the girls who are winning the races - but where I suffer is knowing some of the tactical details and you only learn that from racing.” 

Such is Potter’s running ability, she didn’t even feel particularly good before she ran her world best time last year and while she admits such a performance did make her swither, for a moment at least, about returning to athletics, she has no regrets about sticking to her quest to reach the very top in triathlon. 

Already a European triathlon champion – she won gold in 2019 – she has her sights set on adding more silverware to her collection in the coming months. 

Despite her ambitions, she forces herself to look no further ahead than the next race, though. 

“I still believe there’s so many gains to be made on the bike and from the bike to the run so I’m excited to see what I can do this year,” she says. 

“Physically, I think I’m good enough but I just don’t have that bank of experience up my sleeve yet. But I’m getting there. 

“I want to be at the front of races so making that swim group then being in there on the bike and then on the run, anything can happen. I don’t want to set too many targets but I’d like to consolidate and then I’d love to medal at the Commonwealth Games.  

“But I just need to take it one race at a time.”