Page last updated at 17:32 GMT, Thursday, 19 January 2012

Interviewing a 17-year-old Olympic hopeful

British swimmer Rachael Kelly
British swimmer Rachael Kelly is hoping to compete in the Olympic Games

Rachael Kelly, 17, is a British swimmer competing in the butterfly discipline. After winning a bronze medal in the Youth Olympics in Singapore in 2010, she now has hopes of claiming one of two available qualification places for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

School Reporters Louise and Noah spoke to her about the upcoming British trials in March, and what it takes to be a successful athlete.

Interview by Louise, 14, and Noah, 13
From St Benedict's School, Ealing

Q: At 17 years old you've already achieved gold and two silvers in the European Juniors alone - it's said that you're aiming for the Olympics. How are you going to train for the Olympics?

A: You do a lot of training. I train most days and I'm going to kind of watch what I eat more so I'm more kind of prepared for my race. Then, more towards my race, I'll have what's called a taper - where you rest down and so you're properly ready for your race.

Q: There'll be quite a lot of competition that you'll be going up against - how does it feel going up against Ellen Gandy and Gemma Lowe for a place in the Olympics?

A: Well, it's obviously going to be a tough race but you never know what's going to happen on the day. I mean they could be injured or something or I might manage a really good race so you just have to not think about it really and just swim how you swim - you can't really change anything.

Q: You've already had a load of achievements already - how did it feel to win the Bronze Medal at the Youth Olympics?

A: It was great actually - it was my first kind of competition where there were other sports as well as swimming and that was my first kind of world event so it was great to win a medal at that really.

Louise and Noah interview Rachael over the phone
Louise and Noah interview Rachael over the phone

Q: It has been said that you have not always aimed for the Olympics even though you will be 18 and at the prime of your career - at what point did you decide to aim for the 2012 Olympics?

A: I don't really know. I suppose I was getting a running chance for it when I was fourth in the country at the minute and they take two, so I've got kind of a one in four chance of going, so I may as well try and get there really.

Q: To get to your level you must have made some sacrifices. What sacrifices have you made?

A: For Sixth Form I had to move to boarding school so that means moving away from home and, well, all my friends. Then there's obviously times when I'm racing at weekends and I can't go out with my friends and stuff, so there are a lot of sacrifices but there's a lot of benefits in it too.

Q: You're still of school age so how do you fit training into your school life?

A: I moved to boarding school so that I could swim and train because it kind of puts both together really. So I get up in the morning at about 4.45 am and swim for two hours and then I go to straight to school. Then I go straight to the pool for again another two hour session and then do land training and then just fit all my work in after that really and in the day.

Q:Does it affect your exams?

A: I suppose it does in some ways - I think I spend about 24 hours a week in the pool so if I didn't swim I would be able to concentrate that on my school work, but I wouldn't be a swimmer that way so it doesn't really matter.

Q:How does swimming affect your other activities like social life?

A: It gives you less time but I still manage to see my friends and I've got a boyfriend - I just have a normal life really but I just swim a lot as well.

Q: You're involved in the Big Splash initiative this year and Swim-a-Mile for Sport Relief - why are you keen to get others involved in swimming?

A: Swimming's obviously been a massive impact on my life so it's good to get people into the sport and you never know - they could turn out to be world champions or could possibly qualify for an Olympics, so it think it's good that people actually give it a go and see what they can do.



SEE ALSO
Rachael Kelly eyes Olympic Games
05 Aug 10 |  People and Places

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