Team GB Exclusive: Tutton shakes off shock to follow in hero Davies’ wake

Team GB Exclusive: Tutton shakes off shock to follow in hero Davies’ wake

23 April 2016 / 11:17

Chloe Tutton still has that look of disbelief she showed after a performance at the Olympic trials that smashed her personal best and booked her place on the plane for Rio.

At this week’s official team announcement she blinked into a flurry of camera flashes with a broad smile, while looking around as if someone was about to tell her she was in the wrong place.

If Olympic medals were awarded for sheer likability and effervescence, Tutton, who will be 20 in July, has already got Team GB off the mark before the Games have even begun.GettyImages-522820336chloetuttoncopyBut don’t think her ambition is in any way diluted by her seemingly wide-eyed innocence. She won the 200m breaststroke title at the trials in a 2:22.34 national record, which carved three seconds off her personal best. The time would have won silver at last year’s World Championships and ranks her fourth in the world this year.

“I think me being on this team is a surprise to everyone - no-one expected it, it’s all just a bit incredible,” she said.

“I thrive off pressure and surprising people. I want to always better peoples’ expectations of me Chloe Tutton

“When I went to the trials I knew I had it in me from the times I was doing in training but actually producing a performance when it mattered was something else.

“Life is full of surprises, some bad and some good but this is a very good one. I’m just very proud of myself right now. I’m from a small village in Wales and it shows that anyone can do it if they believe in themselves.

“It’s still incredible to think my time would have got me a medal at the last World Championships. To be considered up there with the world-class swimmers means absolutely everything to me.

“I just want to embrace the Olympic experience now and take everything from it. I thrive off pressure and surprising people. I want to always better peoples’ expectations of me. I want to do amazing things in this sport and keep pushing myself.”

Tutton has already proved she is capable of living up to those famous words of Olympic founder Pierre de Coubertin about triumph and struggle.

At 16 she fell ill with glandular fever and spent nearly two years out of swimming, while since making her Commonwealth Games debut in Glasgow two years ago she’s been sidelined with a dislocated shoulder.

"It's not always been easy going for me, which makes this even more special, knowing what you’ve been through to achieve it,” she adds.

“I'm so grateful to everyone who has helped me along the way, my mum still can’t get the smile off her face and it means so much to make her feel like that.

“She was the one who first took me swimming, she’s always supported me and is always there for me.”GettyImages-51201509daviddavies

Tutton didn’t make last year’s World Championship team but, then again, Rebecca Adlington hardly stood out from the crowd in the year before she struck double gold in Beijing.

She remembers watching those performances in 2008, as similarly aged Adlington - just 19 at the time - won 400m and 800m freestyle gold to become the first British woman to claim an Olympic swimming title since Anita Lonsbrough in 1960.

However, her true Olympic inspiration comes from closer to home.

“My first swimming hero was David Davies (pictured above) because he was Welsh too,” she said.

“I was only eight when he won his bronze in Athens and I remember screaming at the television on my tip toes and just being super excited. He was an amazing swimmer and world-class.

“From that moment, being in the Olympics like him became my dream. I remember watching the race and being desperate to get into the pool as quickly as possible, imagining I was at the Olympics.

“It's so surreal to think I'll be doing it for real now and if I think about having the same effect on someone else, it just makes me so proud.” 

By James Toney, Sportsbeat

© Sportsbeat 2016