FRAN Leighton will look back on her London 2012 Olympic experience with fond memories but never far from her thoughts is the helping hand she has received along the way from the Rotherham Metro Swimming Club.
Leighton and Team GB’s water polo team suffered another dose of heartache as they lost to Russia 11-9 in a classification match despite taking the lead for the first time at London 2012.
Having already been edged out by Russia in their opening match 7-6 and then losing to Spain in the quarter-finals, Team GB continued to give a good account of themselves against the world’s top teams at the Water Polo Arena.
But with a final match against Italy to come to decide who finishes seventh or eighth, Leighton insists it’s hard to forget where she came from and how she progressed to experience the opportunity of a lifetime at London 2012.
“Rotherham is where I started as a junior and my dad is the coach there so without my family support I definitely would not be here today,” she said.
“Or the club support as well for that matter. It is fantastic that there’s so many of us here from Metro – you have Joe Roebuck the swimmer as well.
“The club was integral for all of us and when you look back at the pool we were in we had it shows it does not matter how good your facilities are as long as you are prepared to put the work in to get to where you want.
“We all had that determination to get there. My dad (Norman Leighton) has been my coach for a very long time and managing the high performance centre, I definitely wouldn’t be here without his support.”
Despite missing out on a morale-boosting win as their campaign comes to a conclusion – Leighton admitted London 2012 has always been planned as a stepping-stone towards the real Olympic goal –the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.
Leighton and the GB women’s team will now play Italy tomorrow.
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