Olympics: Team GB in buoyant mood as swimmers land in Edinburgh
The Olympic Village in London got a unanimous seal of approval yesterday from the Team GB swimmers after they moved on to their holding camp in Edinburgh with the pool programme at the Games just nine days away. After two days in the village, the 44-strong squad flew north to the Scottish capital, where they will train at the newly-revamped Royal Commonwealth Pool.
It had been a resounding success, allowing people to settle into their apartments, find their way around – or in some cases get lost – and learn the logistics of transport and the like. Given that more than half the team are first-time Olympians, it is perhaps unsurprising that verdicts ranged from “mind-blowing” to “amazing”.
However, such sentiments were not confined to the first-timers. Fran Halsall made her Olympic debut in Beijing and since then has competed at two World Championships, winning silver in the 100 metres freestyle in 2009, as well as accumulating European and Commonwealth medals, but the 22-year-old admitted she had been taken by surprise.
“I thought because it was my second Olympics it would be fine but I was so excited it was ridiculous,” she said. “It is just so much fun.”
She added: “It was a really good idea because on our first trip back from the dining hall… me and Lizzie [Simmonds] have got the worst sense of direction and we were totally in the wrong block, we didn’t even know where we were.
“All our teething problems are out of the way now which is nice.”
One apartment that could see its fair share of precious metal is that inhabited by Rebecca Adlington and Keri-anne Payne.The pair roomed together at the World Championships in Shanghai last year, claiming two golds and a silver between them, and are backed to win more in the coming weeks, Adlington in the pool and Payne in the open water in the Serpentine.
Adlington said: “It was nice to just get into the village and see it, I don’t think we knew what to expect. It’s nice to find out what the apartment is like, who we are with. Now I know – and we can come away, focus on our training and what we’ve got to do. It was good to get acquainted so we are not overwhelmed.”
At just 16, Siobhan-Marie O’Connor is the youngest member of the team, having only qualified last month at the second trials in Sheffield. She even missed her school prom, of little concern when she qualified. For O’Connor, it is all part of a dream.
She said: “It’s been quite a whirlwind. After March I just tried to get down and focused, I felt like the dream was over but it is back now and it is really happening and all so fast, it’s amazing.”
She too was impressed by the Olympic Village. She said: “Completely blown away. Everything was not how I imagined it – just better and incredible.”
James Goddard is one of seven to have already been to two Olympics, and this year he will again find himself up against two of the greatest swimmers in history in Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps in the 200m individual medley. Earlier this year, the Stockport ITC swimmer enjoyed the high of Manchester City’s title triumph, something he is revelling in. He said: “I’ve just had a joke around with Grant [Turner] and Craig [Gibbons] who are Man United fans. I keep replaying the Sergio Aguero goal on YouTube, sneaking behind them and playing it in their ear, it winds them up a bit…”
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Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 5 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west