How much are you looking forward to competing at the World University Games?
Quite a lot. It’s my first international competition where I’ve had to fly more than a few hundred miles. The only other international competition I’ve done was the CWG in Glasgow last year so this is going to be a pretty big experience, given that I have to fly half way round the world for it so that’s quite exciting if I’m honest.
Which events will you be swimming in Gwangju?
I’m competing in the 50 and 100 breaststroke. I’m generally wanting to get on top of the podium because the times that I did at trials this year, particularly for the 100, were very high up in the world rankings so with some of the guys now going to the world championships and this being the next level of competition, I’m really looking forward to trying to put myself on the podium and get another world ranked time.
What was it like to swim in that 100m Breast final at British champs?
That was actually just amazing. The whole thing. Touching and hearing the crowd going absolutely crazy for adam was just fantastic. It’s so good to see everyone being so competitive in british breaststroke and Ross posted the second fastest time in the world this year and still that’s all in one final at the british champs. It’s just great to see how everyone’s pushing each other along and we’re all coming out with great times, ranked in the world, not just GB.
How was your debut Commonwealth Games experience last summer?
Incredible, I was in Glasgow for two weeks in total. One week of competing which was just unbelievable. The intensity of the cameras and the lights and all that sort of stuff is just a massive step up from your other competitions we’d have in Britain like the nationals. But the second week I spent time supporting the team, not just the swimmers because obviously that had finished, but the squash and table tennis. I realized that there are so many other great sports that we’re good at in England and as you saw, we topped the medal table, and it was really, really amazing.
What is it like combining swimming and studying at university?
It’s a big step up from when you’re at school. You’re in school more. At university the time in the university is reduced compared to school. It’s difficult balancing because of the fact that the training just increases and the requirement for individual work at home for university increases. So it takes a lot of balancing but there’s so much support, it’s really helpful. Loughborough provides everything you need to support yourself through that and if you take that support and the advice people give you, it does get easier.
Who did you look up to when you were a young swimmer?
I had two. Two people that I really looked up to. I actually, when I first came here, they were both still training here. One still trains here so Liam Tancock and Amy Smith are probably the two people I looked up to the most. Obviously everyone is going to look up to people like Michael Phelps. But in terms of Britain, it was those two. Actually last year when I got to be on the commonwealth team with them, that was really good, childhood heroes competing with and being a team with.
What is your top tip for young swimmers?
Stick at it. You go through phases where you’re not going to be swimming how you want to be. I spent a few years where I was like, this isn’t going quite how I want it to, but if you stick at it and commit, it does eventually pull through and you do start to do some times. Sometimes it takes that little wait and plateau before you go right up. Everyone goes through it.