Ollie Fitt is off to the British Olympic Trials early next week, but it is not about Rio for the hot Huntingdonshire talent.
The St Neots-based star of St Ives Swimming Club will be rubbing shoulders with the best swimmers from around the United Kingdom in Glasgow from next Tuesday (April 12) to Sunday (April 17).
Sixteen year-old sensation Fitt has displayed incredible improvement in a short space of time to emerge as a real star of the future in his specialist event, the 100m backstroke.
He will compete in the 17/18yrs age group, against older opponents, in Glasgow and could challenge for a place in the final. He’ll also tackle the 200m backstroke as well.
But his long-term goal lies way ahead of the Games in Brazil this summer. Even Tokyo in 2020 could come too soon.
If everything goes to plan, Fitt is likely to be peaking in 2024. Los Angeles, Hamburg, Rome, Budapest or Paris could be the city where he lays down his marker on the biggest sporting stage of all.
The modest Bedford Modern schoolboy, currently preparing for AS Level exams, told the Hunts Post: “It’s an honour just to be swimming in Glasgow and I’ll be happy if I can come away with a PB.
“I’m sure it will be overwhelming to be there in the same pool as some of the world’s best swimmers, but I’ll try to take it in my stride.
“It will be great experience for me to be taking part in an event as big as this so early in my career.
“Getting to the Olympics has always been my dream and hopefully, if everything works out, I’ll be peaking around 2024.
“It is possible I could make it in 2020, but that would be about getting experience.
“I’m not thinking about that though. All I’m concentrating on is continuing to improve as I still have a lot of progress to hopefully make.”
Should Fitt succeed in his mission to reach the pinnacle of his sport, he will have earned it the hard way.
Swimmers are renowned for having notoriously tough training regimes – clocking up around 30km of work in the pool each week in Fitt’s case - and at unsociable hours.
Fitt, who turns 17 in July and has a personal best of 58.58 for the 100m backstroke, first took up swimming at the age of seven. But it was someyears later that he began to take it seriously.
He added: “It was only when I was edging towards swimming national qualifying times aged around 12 or 13 that I really got into it. I train up to six times a week now and swim 4,000 to 6,000 metres per session.”
He is not the only swimmer with a St Ives connection in Glasgow. Andy Weatheritt, who now trains at Loughborough University, will bid to earn a ticket to Rio in his specialist event, the 50m freestyle.