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Commonwealth Games 2002
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Swimming Wednesday, 5 June, 2002, 17:15 GMT 18:15 UK
Haywood gatecrashes the Games
Manchester Aquatic Centre, where Haywood will be competing
Haywood will be hoping to impress in Manchester
The year 2002 has been a tumultuous one for Kate Haywood.

The 15-year-old, from the outskirts of Lincoln, watched in disdain as Will Young beat her preferred Pop Idol Gareth Gates to the coveted crown as the country's audiences watched with bated breath.

A miserable result for the Haywood household, things soon changed when Gates was awarded a music contract of his own and prepared to become a feature on the teenager's bedroom wall.

Aside from Pop Idol and her academic studies - she is currently in the first year of her GCSEs - the Lincoln athlete has just one major focus...swimming.

Earlier this year she was selected for the English swimming team after finishing third in the 100m breastroke at the Commonwealth Games trials.

open quote
I don't really know that much about him, but I hope to be as successful as he was
end quote
Kate Haywood on her famous ancestor

She told BBC Sport Online: "I finished there but I wasn't able to celebrate straight away that I had automatically got a place."

In fact, her selection as the youngest member of the English team came in a roundabout way.

She continued: "A friend of mine on the team said that I'd made it but I didn't believe him - or in fact I just wanted to make sure."

So she rang her coach and he confirmed that Haywood, who last year took gold at the European Youth Olympics in Murcia, Spain, would make her first foray into senior level swimming.

She readily confesses it will be a daunting experience against some of the world's best swimmers.

"I went to a training camp in Malta and it was really nerve-wracking getting together with all the senior girls," she continued.

"But everyone's been really friendly to me and the Games look set to be a perfect stepping stone for me."

That step is en route to her long-term goal, the Olympics in Athens where she aims to be among the world's best.

"It's two years from now and, sure, there will be lots of great athletes to face," she added, "but I hope I'll be ready."

Haywood factfile
DOB: 01.04.1987
Club: Lincoln Vulcans
Coach: Graham Bassi
100m breastroke PB: 1m 10.49s

In fact Haywood very nearly missed these set of Games altogether, not through form but fitness.

An elbow injury meant she could only concentrate on leg work and was forced out of the pool for five months.

Now back to her best, she insists she can become the most famous export to date from her family.

She already has tough opposition, from her great grandfather Warney Cresswell, who played alongside Dixie Dean for Everton and was also a regular England international.

Cresswell was renowned as a ball provider for Dean and was once described as a "prince of full-backs".

"I don't really know that much about him," she revealed of her ancestor, "but I hope to be as successful as he was."

A "sometime" Manchester United fan, Heywood has not followed the footballing heritage in terms of her idols.

Gates currently holds that key.

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See also:

05 Jun 02 | Swimming
05 Jun 02 | Swimming
05 Jun 02 | Swimming
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