Young St Neots swimmer Ollie Fitt is hoping to follow in the wake of his record breaking club-mate Andy Weatheritt after picking up four more gold medals at ASA East Region Swimming Championships in Norwich.
Fitt, who competes for St Ives Swimming Club under head coach Andy Hunter, is currently the second fastest 14-year-old in the country and has again qualified for the national championships which will take place in Sheffield.
His progress proves the success of Weatheritt, from St Ives, who this week has been in record breaking form on the national stage, is no one-off.
“Ollie is doing the right things and he is probably one of the best all-round swimmers that I have seen in 26 years of coaching,” Hunter told The Hunts Post. “So we are now starting to look at his physical maturation. He’s getting a bit taller and we are looking to build up his mass.
“Last week Ollie was the joint fastest 14-year-old in the country but somebody else has gone slightly faster this week – by eight one hundreds of a second. So that’s not too bad. He’s still joint fourth fastest 15-year-old and he’s not 15 yet.
“Ollie has always had a disadvantage because his birthday is at the wrong end of year, just before the nationals, so he has always had to compete against older swimmers. But for the next two years the age groups stay the same and then after that there are very small increments.”
At St Ives, Hunter also coached Weatheritt, who is now a student at the world renowned sports university Loughborough. Despite missing out on the one place in the England team for Commonwealth Games in his 50m discipline, the 22-year-old this week chipped 0.02sec off Darren Mew’s 11-year-old British short course 50m breaststroke record at the Retford Open Meet at Ponds Forge in Sheffield.
Weatheritt is now setting his sights on the Rio Olympics in Brazil in 2016 and will compete in the 50m breaststroke and 50m freestyle at this week’s British Gas International Swimming Meet in Manchester.
Hunter said: “Andy knew it was going to be tough to qualify for the Commonwealths but he is still relatively young and his coach James Gibson is more concerned about getting him to the next Olympics.”
And Hunter’s St Ives club has had further success in recent weeks with 15-year-old Amy Chalmers competing well at a young age in the Nottingham BIG Triathlon.
To compete at the highest level, young swimmers have to put in hours and hours of work, often training early in the morning before school and into the evening. “That can be great sometimes, sometimes not so much,” said Fitt, who goes to school in Bedford where he also rows and plays rugby.
It was his father, Andy Fitt, an ex-swimmer himself, who first encouraged his son to get into the water. Ollie hasn’t looked back since.
“We have a river running through St Neots so I wanted Ollie to swim,” said dad. “He just took to it well and went faster and faster.”