Teenage swimmer Jacob’s heading for the Olympics

Teenager Jacob Whittle says he can’t wait to represent Team GB in the Tokyo Olympics having been selected as part of the swimming squad.

Friday, 30th April 2021, 12:12 pm
Jacob Whittle is one of British swimming's brightest young talents. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

The 16-year-old will form part of the 4x100m freestyle relay team as things stand, but could yet qualify for an individual event based on his performances at upcoming competitions.

But for now, Whittle, who is from Alfreton and attends Tupton Hall School near Chesterfield where he’s preparing to sit his GCSEs, says he’s looking forward to being part of an illustrious squad.

He said: “My form has been really good over the last year and competing in the International Swimming League in Budapest [as part of the New York Breakers squad] saw me up against some of the top swimmers and I was achieving really good times.

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"So I started to think that the Olympics could be a possibility. I’ve then been training at Loughborough University too since the COVID outbreak as my club Derventio eXcel haven’t been training full-time. Doing that has seen me alongside a lot of the top swimmers including Adam Peaty and Sarah Vasey and that’s really helped me a lot and pushed me on further.”

Whittle won’t be able to have friends and family supporting him in Japan due to travel restrictions in place, but it is something swimmers have gotten used to.

He said: “It’s tough but in the last year we’ve got familiar with swimming in empty arenas and it’s just another thing we’ve had to adapt to.

"If anything, the postponement of the Games actually helped me because had they been in 2020 I wouldn’t have been at the required level, so I’m glad I’ve been able to capitalise.

"I was swimming a PB but it wasn’t near the consideration time, so it shows how much things have improved this year.”

Attention now turns to the European Championships in Budapest later in May which will be a crucial pre-cursor to the Olympics themselves.

Whittle added: “A lot of the Olympic teams will compete in Budapest and I’ll be aiming to get the consideration times for my individual events and make them an option for Tokyo.”

Prior to the Games, the GB swimmers will have a two-week training camp in Japan.

The swimming events will then take place in Tokyo from Saturday, July 24 until August 1.