World-beater Carlin reflects on her first moments in the pool



World-beater Carlin reflects on her first moments in the pool

26 December 2015 / 12:05

She might have been in her late teens before she realised that professional swimming was an option but there were more than a few clues along the way that Jazz Carlin was destined for great things in the pool.

Find out more about Jazz on her Homegrown Heroes profile

Some of the 25-year-old’s earliest memories come from her time in the water with her dad Roger taking a young Carlin to their local pool in Swindon as soon as she was old enough.

Right from the start Carlin felt at home and the competitive edge was born out of a desire to get the better of her dad in a race. 

That accomplishment came in no time and, when she was seven, she also added her headteacher at Tregoze Primary School to the list of people she had seen off.

The signs were there that Carlin was a natural and her time as a Tiger Shark club swimmer only helped to nurture her talent before she made the move to Wales.

It was there that she became one of the country’s best freestyle swimmers and, as a teenager, she made her first appearance for Great Britain and has never looked back.

“I started swimming when I lived in Swindon and as soon I was able my dad took me to the local pool,” said Carlin.

"As soon as I could get in the pool I was there swimming with my dad and it was something that I enjoyed straight away.

“It was just for fun at the start because I got so much enjoyment from it but I did get a bit competitive in the pool.

“I wanted to beat my dad and I loved racing against him to see if I could get the better of him. I just felt at home in the pool and when I wasn’t there I was a fish out of water.

“I never wanted to leave the pool so I would try and stay in as long as I could when everyone was getting out.

“I was about six or seven when I started beating my dad and I remember racing the headteacher of my Tregoze Primary school and winning.

“But I think I was about 16 or 17 in Swansea when I realised that I could maybe make swimming into a career and do it to a high level.”

Success has been plentiful for the Swansea ITC swimmer with World Championship medals coming in 2009 in the 4x200m relay and in the 800m freestyle in Kazan this year.

Most recently Carlin won double short course gold at the European Championships in Israel but there has been a few bumps along the way.

In 2012 Carlin was left heartbroken as she missed the chance to represent Team GB at the London Olympics but she says her love for the sports has never dwindled.

“Swimming is something that I just have a deep passion for and it has helped me to travel the world and see things I might never have seen,” she added.

“It’s a beautiful thing because I know that I can go anywhere in the world and swim and it’s something that is like a universal language that everyone does.

“For me it was so natural and I was in Swansea for a long time and that is by the sea so it was nice to be around the water.

“Outside of swimming I have to admit that I do love shopping but it really doesn’t agree with my bank account!

“I’ve just bought a new house and everything needs doing to it so it’s a bit of a blank canvas at the moment and that takes a lot of my time. I used to play netball when I was younger and do a lot of running which is something I still do as well as going to the gym.”