Willmott targets big year to lay down marker for Rio 2016

07 January 2015 / 11:13

Last year saw Aimee Willmott relocate to London as well as claim four international medals, but the British swimmer insists 2015 will be just as busy with the Rio Olympics ticking ever closer.

Willmott, 21, left her Middlesbrough base at the end of last summer to link up with Lisa Bates, who had been appointed head coach of the new London Aquatics Centre Performance Programme for swimming.

It meant a return to the pool in which Willmott made her Olympic Games debut at London 2012, finishing 11th in the 400m individual medley.

The move came after a busy period for the swimmer, who picked up 400m individual medley and 200m butterfly silver at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow before adding European silver and bronze in the 200m individual medley and 400m medley respectively.

Next on the agenda will be earning qualification for this year’s World Championships in Russia, although Willmott admits thoughts of Rio are never far from her mind.

“Our big event this year is the World Championships in Russia in August, and the trials for that are in April so the first half of the year will all be about preparing for those,” she told the Northern Echo.

“I’m due to compete in Belgium at the end of this month, and that’ll be a first chance to see where I’m at.

“Next year’s trials will be the big ones in terms of qualifying for the Olympics, but this year it’s going to be important to put in some good performances at the Worlds to show I can do the qualifying times and prove I can do well in Rio.

“Last year was a big change for me with the switch down to London and a complete change of training base, so I’m still getting used to all of that a bit.

"It was tough at first, but it’s getting easier and I’m feeling more settled.

“I’m training in the Olympic pool in London now, and it still gives me goosebumps whenever I come in for a session and see all the sights that were part of London 2012." 

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