Craig Gibbons may not be well-known yet, but he is certainly hoping to become a household name after the 2012 London Olympics. Craig, a swimmer, has qualified to represent Team GB in the 4 x 100 metres free-style relay and hopes that by posting the quickest team of any competitor at the recent trials (a Personal Best which shaved 0.5 seconds off his previous PB) will secure him a place for the 50 metre freestyle event.
Craig’s love of swimming hasn’t always been apparent. At the age of three or four his mother decided she wanted him to be able to swim confidently when they went on holiday, but to start with Craig hated it and kicked and punched to try and avoid going into the pool. Gradually, however, his teacher won him over, to the point that Craig started to make a fuss about getting out of the pool.
Swimming lessons continued, but, by the age of six, Craig and his mother were becoming a little disillusioned with the classes. He wasn’t being moved up and was told that he was never going to make it as a swimmer. At this point, Craig’s mother moved her son to the Maxwell Swim Club at Aqua Vale in Aylesbury, Bucks, who immediately saw his potential.
Having attended his local primary school in Steeple Claydon up until the age of 11, Craig transferred to the Buckingham School in Buckingham where he swam for the school on several occasions, including at the World School Games in the South of France.
In order to be closer to training in Aylesbury, Craig attended the Cottesloe School in Wing for sixth form. At the age of 18 he went to Loughborough University to study Sports Science, with lots of opportunities to continue his swimming coaching.
Following completion of his degree course, Craig returned to Aylesbury and Maxwell’s, where he now has a different coach. He has already competed in the European Championships in Istanbul, Rijeka and Vienna, the World Championships in Manchester and Melbourne and the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. At the European Short Course Championships in Istanbul in December 2009, the final race of the event was the 4 x 50 metre Male Freestyle Relay. Craig led the British team on the first leg clocking a time of 21.49 making him the third fastest British Swimmer of all time; the British Quartet went on to set a new British Record.
So the last thing for Craig to tick off is the Olympics. He says: “I am really excited and can’t wait to compete. There is no greater achievement than to represent one’s country and at a home Olympic Games - it is obviously going to be a once in a life-time opportunity.” Remembering the World Championships in Manchester, Craig says: “It was absolutely phenomenal – there were 11,000 spectators and even people who didn’t know me were cheering me just because I was British. At the London Olympics I will be in front of a crowd of 17,000 spectators poolside, which will be really special.”
Craig was thrilled to be approached to be a patron of Brain Tumour Research. Being an athlete he really understands how important the brain is and has been shocked to discover how woefully underfunded research into brain tumours is, despite the numbers affected. The fact that he is able to support a local charity in this way makes the connection even more special.
See Craig's website for more information.