Delhi, Shanghai, and”¦Costa Adeje, all stepping stones on the way to Olympic glory at London 2012 for the Great Britain swimming team. Come July some 20,000 fans will pack the London Aquatics Centre at Stratford hoping to witness a medal haul but for now nine hopefuls are sharpening up at Tenerife Top Training high above La Caleta.
At 20 years old Jak Scott has already tasted glory after early family sacrifices. ” I grew up in Hawick which was a rugby town so when I took up swimming and started to get good I had to make a 90 minute journey to Edinburgh. At 15 my family moved there, an amazing show of faith in me, later I joined Stirling University, they have a reputation for sporting excellence. In the 2010 Commonwealth games in Delhi I won a silver as part of the 4 x 200m freestyle relay (Jak also competes at 100 m and 200 m individual freestyle) that was a great boost.”
Coach Rob Greenwood explained that “Stirling is one of five ITC’s (Intensive Training Centre) we’ve brought nine swimmers to Tenerife for two weeks, all with Olympic medal hopes. In March we have to select the British Swimming squad of about 50, they have to make set times and be the top two at each distance so it will be tough.”
Jak can’t wait. “The selection trials are the first test event at the Olympic pool, we had a tour just after it was finished, it’s an awesome building. This years World Championships were in Shanghai and there were a few thousand watching but that’s nothing compared to the 2012 games. That was my first GB cap and we came 6th, it was the first time my parents weren’t watching me but they will be in London, each athlete gets two tickets.”
Plunging into the T3 pool Scott pushes himself in the second of two daily sessions with his team mates, they are clocking up 30 hours a week plus some weights and medicine ball work. The training is relentless in the medal chase.” We came to T3 last year, it’s got to be the best facility in Europe for us. This time it’s all about building aerobic power, speed and pace. In January we did three weeks work in Singapore, two weeks after this it’s Poland for a short course event. I’m lucky that Stirling University are very supportive, they have given me a year off from my accountancy studies and British Gas support the development programme.”
Watching the swimmers powering through the water it’s clear to see their determination but will performing in front of an expectant home crowd make it tougher? ” There is pressure,” admits Jak. “But it’s such a privilege to take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity. We will stay part of the duration of the swimming in the Olympic village but also take a short break at an Edinburgh holding camp to get out of the spotlight. ”