Jordan Gaskell, 17, is a competitive swimmer and Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sports Performance student. Read his blog to find out what he hopes to achieve this year.
I’m Jordan Gaskell and I’m a competitive swimmer. Swimming’s a top sport because although it’s very physically and mentally demanding, it’s really rewarding when you do well individually in your competitions.
I started having swimming lessons when I was in Year 4 at primary school and I joined Winsford Swimming Club when I was 10 years old. I specialise in the 200m, 100m and 50m butterfly and I compete at national, regional and local level.
My greatest achievement so far has been to qualify for the trials for the 2016 Olympics. I didn’t get selected but I was really proud to take part. I also competed in the British Championships last year, and other national competitions.
This year I’ve been selected to represent the north west region in the Inter Divisional Championships run by the English Schools Swimming Association (ESSA) in Liverpool.
It’s next month, so training is pretty full on at the moment. I do nine sessions a week of around two hours each. I have to get up at 4.20am every morning apart from Thursdays and Sundays and I’m in the pool from 5am until 7am. I also do four evening sessions, some are in the pool and others are in the gym doing general strengthening exercises.
We have a fantastic coach from Winsford Swimming Club who takes us through every session and makes sure that we get individual support so we can do our best.
You have to be really committed to your training, but there are perks too. Last year I did well in the British finals and I was selected for a week’s training camp in Tenerife, which was funded by The Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE), a government-funded initiative that helps young people combine education and sport. As well as being a Reaseheath student, I’m also an advanced apprentice with AASE. This will get me an extra qualification when I finish the apprenticeship.
I probably compete two weekends a month. I look forward to the competitions, particularly if the race goes well. My personal best is 2 mins 8 secs for a 200m butterfly in a 50m pool. Training’s going well at the moment and I’m hoping for a new personal best at the north west championships.
I’ve got my eye on the British Championships this year because the selectors will be looking for team members to compete in the Commonwealth Games in Australia in 2018. And then there’s the 2020 Olympics in Japan – there’s a lot to aim for!