Becoming an Olympian is something special. There’s roughly a 500,000/1 chance of making it to the Olympics as a competitor, and in The Willmott household there are 2!
I remember qualifying for my first Olympic Games like it was yesterday. It was day 1 of the London 2012 Olympic trials and most of my family were in the stands to watch me compete. I had to swim a time of 4.40.16 and be a top 2 finisher to make the cut. I touched second in a time of 4.37.48 securing my place on the team. I turned around looked for my parents and punched the sky. I was going to the Olympics following in my dad’s footsteps.
I was the 58th competitor to qualify for Team GB across all the sports and I couldn’t wait to represent my country!
Kitting Out Day
Getting your Olympic kit is like Christmas coming early! As a kid I dreamed of wearing the colours of the union jack and representing my country. Trying it on never gets old – it’s very special!
At ‘kitting out’, Team GB create their own clothes shop where you get to try on each item of clothing, check it’s the right size, and move onto the next - you can even try socks on!
Collecting my kit for Rio was pretty fun. They had a photo booth, a load of games set up and the packing station was set up like an ALDI supermarket till. Your kit travelled along the belt, a member of the team checked it off a list, and then packed it into your suitcases to take home – albeit a little slower and with less pressure than actually shopping at ALDI!
At the Games
I finished 11th at my first Olympics. It was my fastest heat swim at the time, and the best experience I could have imagined. I walked out for my race and stood behind the block - I was in lane 3. Hannah Miley was coming down the last length of the freestyle and the crowd really got behind her; it gave me goosebumps. The atmosphere was electric as my name flashed up on the scoreboard before the start of my heat. 8 years later and I still haven’t heard a crowd as loud. 17,000 British supporters were cheering for ME before I was about to dive in and my adrenaline was through the roof! I went off like a rocket down the first length and completely miss-paced the 100m butterfly, but in that moment I didn’t care.
I was finally experiencing my dream come true!