SWIMMING ace Josh Tompkins is preparing to dive in at the deep end when he competes in the Biathle World Championships in Germany later this year.

The British U18 champ (pictured), from Ashness Grove, Fulwood, is hoping to improve on last year's match when he came third.

Biathle is an up-and-coming sport and involves athletes completing in two 1,500m runs and a 200m sea swim.

But before he sets off for the games in autumn, Josh, 18, is hoping to join the British team in South Africa after being invited to compete against the country's biathle team.

And the sporty teenager was among 200 enthusiasts to brave the cold weather at the weekend to take part in the annual North of England Winter Biathlon and Triathlon Championships on Moor Park.

Running competitors dashed 1,000 yards around the park where shooting events also took place.

Children as young as ten competed in the event alongside those aged 35-plus. All were handicapped according to age.

Josh won the men's Class A biathlon and came second in the triathlon -- a running and shooting sport.

Sam Jackson, of Fleetwood, came first in the girls' 15 and 16 age group in both the biathlon and triathlon while Katy Burke, also from Fleetwood, won the 11 and 12 year olds girls' competition in both events.