St Ives swimmer Andy Weatheritt is aiming for the Rio Olympics - and he’s not that far away

St Ives Swimmer Andy Weatheritt.

St Ives Swimmer Andy Weatheritt. - Credit: Archant

Andy Weatheritt is fast making a name for himself in international swimming and the 6ft 6in freestyler is aiming to be a member of Team GB for the next Olympics in Rio in 2016.

St Ives Swimmer Andy Weatheritt.

St Ives Swimmer Andy Weatheritt. - Credit: Archant

The 22-year-old Loughborough University student has been coached by Andy Hunter at St Ives Swimming Club for more than 10 years and is ranked third in the UK in the 50m freestyle – with two places up for grabs in that discipline in the GB team.

“The Olympics are my three-year target but we have got the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year which is our more immediate aim,” said the swimmer from Holme, who spoke to the The Hunts Post on a flying visit to the One Leisure Indoor Centre in St Ives.

“I have just moved into the national sprint squad and I am getting coached by an ex-world champion, James Gibson, at Loughborough – he coached the last three world freestyle champions.”

Having broken three British Masters records at Ponds Forge in Sheffield two weeks ago, Weatheritt – who trains in a pool 10 times a week and five times in a gym – is off to France to race against the current 50m freestyle Olympic gold medallist Florent Manaudou the weekend after next. Manaudou was coached by Gibson before the 33-year-old was recruited by Britain this year.

It takes a lot of calories to maintain that kind of training regime – in fact, Weatheritt struggles to eat enough food in a day. There are few people in this world that can get away with all-day grazing.

Picked up by his father Tim and delivered to St Ives for this interview, Weatheritt’s mother Jan had given him a boiled ham to take back to Loughborough.

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“That’s the hard thing,’” said Tim Weatheritt, “getting the calories into him. He is eating around 5,000 calories a day and that’s not always enough.”

Hunter, one of the UK’s most experienced and qualified swimming coaches himself, added: “With his height advantage he is an out-and-out sprinter and he has a natural feel for the water at what we call a base speed. He has a real chance of going all the way.”

Weatheritt hooked up with Hunter at St Ives when he was 10 and has developed over the years into one of the country’s finest swimmers. After leaving Sawtry Community College for the world famous sport university of Loughborough (to do a Chemistry degree) his progress doubled.

Weatheritt said: “A quite normal day for me is to get up and train – go to Uni – come back, get some food in, then go to the pool again and maybe get in the gym in between. Then it’s evening meal, a bit of course work and start again the next day.

“I used to play a lot of sports up until about the age of 15 – football, cricket and tennis – and it came to the time where I had to make a decision. It had to be swimming by itself – or not swimming. I like the way it is structured, you get good discipline from it.

“I started swimming competitively when I was about eight; my parents just wanted me to be able to swim competently so that I would always be safe in water. I just got hooked on it and kept going.”

Weatheritt received the Outstanding Achievement (over-18s) award at The Hunts Post Sport Awards in August, collecting his trophy from Matt Giggs of estate agents Giggs and Co. And he is now hoping for more support from businesses in the district. “When your shorts cost more than £250 you do need sponsorship,” said the swimmer.

Indeed. And with all that food to buy, too ... this swimming lark can’t be a cheap way to live.