With the British Swimming Championships now just weeks away, Siobhan-Marie O’Connor will be hoping to claim her place on the British team for this summer’s Rio Olympic Games.
The youngest British swimmer to compete at the London Olympics when just 16 years old, O’Connor burst onto the international stage in 2014 when equalling the record for medals won by a female at a single Commonwealth Games, reaching the podium a phenomenal six times in Glasgow.
O’Connor then went on to win her first global medals at last summer’s World Championships with bronze in the 200m Individual Medley before claiming team gold in the 4x100m Medley Relay (pictured with the team below).
Read on to find out more about Siobhan, including her thoughts on the Olympics and what she was like at school…
- Age: 20 years old
- Born: Bath
- Club: National Performance Centre, Bath
- Coach: Dave McNulty / Graeme Antwhistle
How did you get into swimming?
I started swimming when I was seven years old. My dad is really into his sports so it’s safe to say I tried a lot of sports before I tried swimming.
Who was your childhood hero and why?
Rebecca Adlington for sure. I remember watching her win double gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics on TV. She’s such an inspiration and it was so amazing being on the same team with her at London 2012. She is such a lovely lady and has always been so kind and supportive.
She’s such an inspiration and it was so amazing being on the same team with her at London 2012.
How many hours do you spend training a week?
A lot! We have 10 swimming sessions a week – two every day apart from Wednesdays and Saturdays where we only have one. On average I’ll cover 6km a session. On top of that we also have five ‘land’ sessions, which can be anything from gym to strength and conditioning.
What’s the worst thing about swimming?
I love swimming which is why I do it, but the sacrifices to be the best swimmer can be hard. I can’t just drop everything and go out and see my friends. I also have to be careful with what I eat although I do love a box of Ben’s cookies. You have to treat yourself every now and then!
Were you into sports at school?
I was yes, I did PE as an A-level. As a child I was into most sports, in fact there probably wasn’t a sport I didn’t try! However, as I got a little older, swimming became the focus and other sports took a back seat. I still follow most sports as a spectator and support Bath rugby and Arsenal!
As a child I was into most sports, in fact there probably wasn’t a sport I didn’t try! However, as I got a little older, swimming became the focus and other sports took a back seat.
What was your favourite subject?
I really loved PE and I think it has really helped me with my swimming. With swimming being a power to weight sport it’s so important being able to understand how the body works.
Did you struggle with swimming and school?
I really did, and I ended up dropping A-levels as I couldn’t manage the work load. I was missing lessons because of training or competitions. I even remember falling asleep a lot in lessons!
What was it like competing at the London 2012 Olympics?
London was an unforgettable experience. This was definitely a career highlight for me. I was only 16 (below) when selected and I was the youngest Team GB swimmer.
What does Rio mean to you?
The Olympic Games is a huge opportunity to compete at the highest level and an incredible, life-changing experience for any athlete. I’m four years older, and like to think four years wiser than my first Olympics, so I’m going into the next couple of weeks and months prepared and will be the very best I can be.