Olympic success inspires Milngavie swimming star

14.8.12 Photograph Paul McSherry. Swimmer Jack Thorpe at the Allander.'Photo by Paul Mc Sherry 14th Aug 2012.
14.8.12 Photograph Paul McSherry. Swimmer Jack Thorpe at the Allander.'Photo by Paul Mc Sherry 14th Aug 2012.

GOING for gold – that’s the vow from Milngavie swimmer Jack Thorpe after he roared on Scotland’s Michael Jamieson to silver success at the London 
Olympics.

Teenager Jack sat glued to the television as Jamieson – who honed his skills in East Dunbartonshire – claimed three consecutive British records and silver in the 200m breaststroke.

Now 18-year-old Jack has set his sights on a podium finish in two years’ time at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

“Watching Michael win a silver was really inspirational,” he said. “He has made me get back in the pool and work hard all week because I now want to get going again.

“It was really motivational watching him win a medal for Scotland. Everyone is still talking about it, even people that aren’t into sport or swimming — there has been a huge reaction.

“I think he has helped put swimming on the map in Scotland.

“There are other good, young Scottish swimmers coming through and I hope I can follow in his footsteps.”

Jack has already proven himself as a rising star in Scottish swimming after claiming a silver of his own at the Scottish Open and National Youth Championships earlier this summer.

And now with such a major international competition heading to his home country, the next logical step is to clinch a medal in Glasgow.

He said: “It has been great winning the silvers in pretty good times, but I was just hoping to make the final at the Scottish Open, so I was particularly pleased with that.

“Hopefully I can make the squad for the Glasgow Games and spring a surprise like Michael Jamieson.

“But it is hard to say whether I’m a medal contender yet because I’m only 18, which is still quite young for a sprinter.

“I won’t be at my peak until my early or mid-20s, but it would be brilliant to win a medal in front of my home fans.

“It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete in front of them, although I just hope I make the team first.”

The presence of former Scottish 50m record holder Craig Houston in his camp will only serve to bolster Jack’s chances of a medal.

Houston broke the national 50m freestyle record at the 2006 Commonwealth Games with a time of 23.03secs and Jack insists he could not be better coached for a tilt at Glasgow gold.

He said: “It is great having Craig in my corner, he is a great coach and has played a big role in my development.

“I used to swim 1,500m, but when my old coach left he came in, noticed the potential I had and said my style was better suited to 50m.

“I am actually faster than he was at my age and was only 0.08secs away from beating his record.

“It is good to know I am heading in the right direction, although Craig keeps telling me to keep working hard to go quicker.”

Jack benefits from being a member of the Bank of Scotland Local Heroes programme which, in partnership with SportsAid, provides support and funding to 82 of Scotland’s most talented developing athletes.

Since 2008, the programme has supported 170 athletes.