South Surrey’s Jaryd Middleton is piloting a human-powered submarine he and his teammates built, competing in England. (UVic Submarine Racing Club photo)

B.C. man striving for success beneath the surface

Jaryd Middleton, 21, in England for international submarine competition

A South Surrey man who, as a boy, spent a chunk of his school years sailing the world, has taken his education to a deeper level, competing for submarine honours in England.

READ MORE: Returning to shore

Jaryd Middleton, now 21, is a pilot on a 10-member University of Victoria team – the UVic Submarine Racing Club – at the European International Submarine Race (eISR) underway in Gosport.

The fourth-annual event – which wraps up tomorrow (Friday) – challenges students to “race their human-powered submarines against the clock around a demanding slalom course in a unique sporting and engineering challenge,” according to the event website.

The students had to design and build a vessel that is neither watertight or pressurized, with room for just a pilot inside. They could be innovative, as long as the pilot was fully enclosed within the machine’s hull, and was the only source of propulsion power.

The UVic team dubbed their craft ‘Chinook.’ According to the club’s Instagram posts, it reached speeds of at least 4.4 knots.

Middleton, who studies mechanical engineering at UVic, was surprised by how comfortable he felt inside the sub.

“I thought it was going to be a little more claustrophobic than it is, but you’ve got this really great little nose dome at the front that you can see out of,” he told U.K. media.

His mom Marilyn described the opportunity as “a pretty amazing thing.”

She is confident the sailing the family embarked on – which took them as far as Malaysia when her son was 11 – has contributed to his success so far. His background includes competitive swimming and water polo and more than nine years of scuba-diving experience. He’s also a lifeguard.

“I’m proud of him,” she said. “The cruising that we did in those four years played a large role in the person he’s become.”

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UVic Submarine Racing Club photo South Surrey’s Jaryd Middleton is piloting a human-powered submarine that he and his UVic teammates built and is facing competition in England.

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