SWIMMER Craig Gibbons has realised his dream of qualifying for the Olympic Games.
The Maxwell Swim Club member is the first swimmer from the club in 20 years to achieve the accolade of representing Great Britain.
Said Craig: “Qualifying for the Olympic Games has been my dream since I started swimming at the age of eight years; finally, some 18 years later, I’ve achieved that childhood dream and I couldn’t be any happier with that!
“A massive thank you to all the support I’ve received from Maxwell and other people across the country.”
Kevin Brooks, Maxwell Head Coach, who’s coached Craig for three years commented: “I couldn’t be any happier. A great team effort but... yes, Craig, you did it.”
At the impressive Aquatics Centre for the British Gas Championships and Olympic trials this week, in the 100m freestyle semi final Craig, from Steeple Claydon, had a strong swim with great speed, technique and power, qualifying for the finals.
Then it was all down to who wanted it the most and Craig stepped up to the block and qualified for the GB Olympic 100m freestyle team, finishing the finals in third position in a time of 49.49s behind Simon Burnett (49.33s) and James Disney-May (49.48s).
What is impressive is that out of the top four, Adam Brown finished in fourth position; Craig is the only one who is a club swimmer, as all the rest train in the US.
Next was the 50m freestyle event, and team mates Liam O’Brien (15) set a new Junior County Record and PB in the 50m Free, 24.93, and David Godridge (18) a new PB of 23.31s, narrowly missing out the semi finals in 17th position.
Craig swam a PB (eclipsing his 2009 PB from the ‘shiny suits era’) in a time of 22.41s, a new Senior County Record and ranking him fastest for the final.
Pleased with the heat, second fastest into the semis and looking strong, Craig had never been inside his PB on a heat swim.
The finals loomed, all his supporters from the club were watching it at home, on BBC iPlayer, on a projector onto the wall at Aqua Vale swimming pool in Aylesbury, expectations were high and the tension was like no other.
Craig didn’t disappoint and finished in second position gaining a silver medal in a time of 22.56s behind Adam Brown on 22.48s. There is still an opportunity to qualify for the individual 50m freestyle and the 100m freestyle Olympic events in June at the 2nd stage trials; the Senior Nationals and Craig and Kevin will be working hard to achieve this.