BLACKBURN ironman Brian Fogarty could join the professional ranks, just 12 months since he won his first amateur triathlon title.

Fogarty, who could not swim a couple of years ago, has already scooped up four titles this year – The 2014 National Duathlon crown, his first national prize, the Parbold Duathlon, plus top podium finishes at the Ulverston Triathlon and the Horwich Pool Triathlon.

Fogarty, who produced the performance of his life at the World Ironman Championships in Hawaii eight months ago, said: “I’ve made massive strides this year, and turning professional is something I’m definitely thinking hard about now.

“I’ve improved all three of my Triathlon disciplines, particularly swimming. The coach Matt Donnelly has really helped me enormously and that’s made a big difference.

“When I competed at the National Duathlon in 2013 it was a bit of a shock to be there, taking on these incredible elite athletes.

“Suddenly, though, I’m beating these guys and I’m the one they all need to worry about.

“That seems a bit strange because I’ve only competed in endurance racing for a short time and in a way my progress has shocked me.

“However, I’m convinced that I can progress again.

“Winning titles gives you so much confidence and belief – I just want to continue improving.”

Fogarty has targeted the World Championships in Hawaii in October, where last year he shaved a stunning twelve minutes off his personal best for the gruelling endurance test.

Fogarty’s finishing time of nine hours 31 minutes and 25 seconds on the Pacific Island saw him complete a 2.4 mile swim (71.53) a 112 mile bike ride (4 hours, 49 min 22 seconds) and a marathon (3 hours 23.03) to secure 260th position overall from thousands of entries.

“My target is to try and go under nine hours at one of the big triathlon events – that’s my dream now,” he added.

“Going under that time is a bit like a sprinter dipping under ten seconds for the 100 metres – it is the Holy Grail.”

Fogarty’s next assignment is the Bala middle distance triathlon in North Wales next month, where he will attempt to win his fifth title of 2014.

“I’m training incredibly hard right now and my next aim is to try and win the Half Ironman event at Bala,” added the cousin of World Superbike champion Carl “That’s a very tough competition, and it will be a hard test. I did it last year, and it would be a massive feather in my cap to come first.”

Fogarty, who now competes for his own Triathlon team – Fogarty Insurance Triathlon team – added: “All the lads in the team are from Blackburn, great guys like Paul Guinan, Jack Hindle and Mark Bleasdale are fantastic competitors so that helps spur me on.”