Australia a good move for Gandy

20 May 2012 / 23:26

While Melbourne-based Ellen Gandy suffers occasional homesickness, her move to Australia is one that has helped propel the world 200 metres butterfly silver medallist to Olympic title contention after her focus had wavered.

Handpicked by former national performance director Bill Sweetenham to be part of the Smart Track group that also included the likes of European champions Fran Halsall and Lizzie Simmonds, the former Beckenham swimmer was undoubtedly a star of the future, claiming four medals at the 2007 European Junior Championships.

Later that year aged 16, the Bromley-born swimmer moved to Australia when her father was appointed deputy chief executive of Melbourne airport.

There she joined Rohan Taylor training variously alongside the likes of seven-time world champion Michael Klim and Leisel Jones before the double Olympic champion relocated to Brisbane at the end of 2011.

Gandy admits the move, as well as training alongside such decorated swimmers, reinvigorated her.

She said: "I had just finished my GCSEs, and I was the oldest person in my training squad at that time, and I was kind of getting to the point where I was like 'I want to go out with friends, I don't really want to train'.

"Having all the other distractions was getting me down a bit. During that year I decided I didn't want to swim butterfly any more, just because I was being 16 and I was like 'I don't want to do it any more' and when I moved to Australia it just gave me a fresh start on things.

"My coach said to me when I moved over there 'do you want to make the Olympics?' and I said 'yeah' and he said 'well, you've got to swim the 200m butterfly' so that kicked me back into swimming it again.

"It was a good thing for me because I needed a change and I needed some focus. The training squad that I went into was full of Olympians and Olympic champions, and having older people to aspire to was really helpful at that time."

London will be Gandy's second Olympics after being the baby of the swimming team four years ago, turning 17 during Beijing.