The 18-year-old two-time 2013 European Junior Champion launched himself onto the world stage finishing fifth in the 400m freestyle final at the 15th FINA World Championships in Barcelona last year. James continues to impress, and having taken three titles at this year’s British Champs, watch out for him at the Commonwealth Games this year!
Describe a typical day.
I wake up at 5.15am, have my porridge, bagel, and Berocca drink; head to the pool for a 6-8am swim. I then walk up to school to have breakfast, start school at 9am, finish at 3.45pm, then walk to the pool to train 4-6pm, have dinner at school then walk home.
When did you learn to swim?
When I was four.
What is your best event?
What is your favourite event?
400IM as it still gives me a chance to work on my other strokes.
What is your greatest swimming achievement so far?
Coming 5th in the 400 free at the World Swimming Championships 2013.
Do you know how many titles or medals you have won?
35 national / international medals.
What are your best, and worst, moments in swimming?
My worst was my swimming years between the ages of 12 and 13. I had a tough time with PBs and struggling to improve in swimming, which wasn't happening. But I stuck with it and it’s led to my best swimming moment.
What was your first overseas or international event?
The 2012 European Juniors.
What are your sporting ambitions?
To be the best I can.
Do you have any brothers or sisters?
Yes, one younger brother.
Is he involved in swimming?
Does he have any annoying habits?
He likes to take my racing gear and use it in training, and is a compulsive liar.
Do you have any hobbies apart from swimming?
Fishing and just relaxing with mates.
What music, singers or bands do you like?
Avicii, ASAP Rocky, Wiz Khalifa, Mary J Blige, Kanye West, Justin Timberlake and Drake.
What is your favourite TV programme?
Geordie Shore and Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
What was the last film you saw?
Hostel Part 2.
What was the last book you read?
Michael Phelps ‘No Limits’ (four years ago).
What are your favourite food and drink?
Food – Chinese. Drink – Shloer.
What is your favourite colour?
What is your favourite holiday destination?
Do you come from a sporting family?
Yes, Grandad was a boxer in India and welterweight champion for a few years, Dad came third in the Army Superstars, played a lot of racket sports and was also an apprentice for Leeds united! Mum was a very good runner and her brothers did a lot of boxing.
What makes you so good at your sport?
I train like a warrior! I have a good relationship with my coaches!
Do you have any superstitions?
What is your star sign?
What was your favourite subject at school?
If you were stranded on a desert island, which three things would you most want (apart from a phone)?
My mum, dad and brother.
What would be your ideal job or career apart from swimming?
Trying to get into property development.
If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you spent money on?
A new fishing rod.
Do you have any pets?
Yes, one dog - a Yorkshire terrier.
If you came back as an animal in a future life, what would you like to be?
A monkey because they can swing and jump from tree to tree!
Any advice to young up-and-coming athletes?
Listen to your coach, give everything in the training sessions and focus on the little extras that make the difference!