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Team GB's only black swimmer on becoming a champion

MASTER STROKE: Cameron Brooks-Clarke

IN APRIL 18-year-old Cameron Brooks-Clarke became a double British Junior Swimming Champion, (in 50m and 100m butterfly) at the British National Championships. He has now been selected to represent team GB at August’s World Junior Swimming Championships in Indianapolis, USA. He is the only black swimmer in the GB squad of 21 swimmers.

Brooks-Clarke spoke with Rodney Hinds about becoming a champion and his goals for the future:

Q: When did your love of swimming start?

A: I’ve always had a passion for improving myself, mentally and physically. Swimming allows me to develop myself in these ways with intense training sessions that I thoroughly enjoy. My love for swimming came quickly after my first few races. It’s simple; I don’t like to lose.

Q: Tell me what your goals are for the World Junior Championships...

A: First of all I’m seeing this as great opportunity to get some real experience, I’m really looking forward to compete in Indianapolis against the best junior swimmers the world has to offer. This is my debut selection to represent Great Britain at the highest level, so first impressions are a must.

PIANO PLAYER: The youngster tinkles the ivories when relaxing

Q: You’ve only been swimming for five years, why so much success so soon, do you think?

A: Not sure I could tell you, there have been ups and downs (more downs than ups) but every failure is a lesson learned. It’s just nice to see results from my sacrifices.

Q: How do your school friends/ family cope with your achievements?

A: Everyone’s been very supportive. I don’t have much time to spend with friends but they understand and I try to catch up with them when I get any free time. They are proud of my achievements. School have allowed me time off for competitions, if they fall on school days -as long as I keep up with my school work! They’ve also celebrated my successes by making public announcements in the school bulletin across school. It goes without saying that my family are very proud of how far I have come!

Q: What tribute would you like to pay to your coach Mike Taylor?

A: He’s a coach, mentor, friend and more. Mike believed in me from the start when no one else did. He invited me to do a three month trial with a junior Olympic squad that many experienced swimmers were aiming to join, after spotting me as I was lane swimming with the general public. I owe a lot to that man.

Q: What do you hope to achieve in the sport?

A: See how far it takes me, let my actions speak for themselves.

Q: Away from school and swimming, how do you like to relax?

A: Music, I like to just vibe on the piano...never know what kind of energy I can put out. Films. Sleep, love sleep.

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