Sheffield swimming sensation Cameron Brooks-Clarke may be the second fastest 100m butterfly swimmer in Great Britain behind world champion Ben Proud, but if it wasn’t for a moment of misfortune, his career may never have taken off.
With dreams of emulating Tom Daley, Brooks-Clark spent his formative years leaping off platforms rather than doing laps in the pool and it was only when he broke his arm as a 13-year-old that he switched to swimming.
Fast forward to 2018 and the 19-year-old is a Scottish National Open champion and a member of British Swimming’s podium potential squad, with Tokyo 2020 rapidly approaching.
Brooks-Clarke is now mixing it with the best including Olympic medallists Adam Peaty and James Guy, but he’s already plotting his route to the very top with the World Championships next year.
“When I first started I really struggled and got lapped continuously and it was very painful,” he said. “I liked swimming and the coach told me that I had something. Within two years I became the National Junior Champion. Up until those two years I had a lot to prove.
“There’s people now that I am faster than that I used to look at and think that they were incredible. I look at James Guy and think, how am I going to get close him and how am I going to beat him next year? I’ve got new targets, new rivals. I want to be a part of it. I see them and think I want to join in and give my contribution.
“Every day I ask myself the question can I actually go to the Olympics and perform there? I can get on that plane, but the question is what am I going to do there? Am I going to compete or to be one of the big boys?”
Brooks-Clarke’s cause is also being helped by The Nottingham Building Society, who are teaming up with charity SportsAid to support 50 local athletes as they try to find their ‘time to shine’, with each receiving £750 of funding.
Having already donated £240,000 to SportsAid to help athletes buy equipment, travel to events and receive the training they need to be the best they can, The Nottingham Building Society are now also helping athletes on the path to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, and beyond.
“The grants they gave me was my only source of help until I was put on the British funding.
“It made me feel a lot better about myself to travel to competitions abroad and pay for it myself and not get my mum to fork out that money. I could not have done it without their help.”
*Nottingham Building Society and Harrison Murray teamed up with SportsAid in 2013 to help future sports stars get their time to shine. Visit thenottingham.com to find out more.