THE Olympic Games traditionally start with a splash in the swimming pool and this year will be no different.
However, there will be plenty of local interest this time with Sheffield’s Ellie Faulkner and Rotherham’s Becky Turner hoping to win an early medal for Team GB.
Both aged 19 the pair are close friends in and out of the pool, which makes it all the better that they’re just 100 days from the Olympics rather than FOUR years and 100 days away.
Rio de Janeiro in 2016 was their original goal, but they’re more than happy to move their dreams forward.
Ellie, a former pupil at Westbourne school and All Saints school, said: “My aim was for 2016 in Rio.
“I went in (to the trials) thinking ‘just do your best’. When I qualified it was just a massive shock.
“There was a lot of tears - I couldn’t stop crying. I didn’t expect to make the 200 metre freestyle team at all. When I did I looked at Becky and just started crying.
“It’s still not really sunk in. At the moment I’m like in a bubble not believing it.”
Becky, who was a student at Wickersley school, said it was special when they both made it through the tough trial process: “I felt bad for not crying!
“I don’t think either of us were expected to make the individual events. I’d hoped to make the relay.
“It will be pretty cool that everyone will be shouting your name and everyone will know who you are.
“There’ll obviously be a few people there for other teams, but the majority will be for Team GB. It’s scary; but cool.”
Ellie, who will go up against double-Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington in the 800m freestyle, and Becky, who will take part in the 200m freestyle, will combine in the 200m relay - giving the City of Sheffield swim squad half of the British line up.
With peak training of 10 sessions a week, which start at 5.30am on most days, the hard work isn’t over just because they’ve booked their London ticket.
Ellie said: “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to take part in a Games in your home country.
“We just need to keep hitting it hard in training.
“That’s all we need to do. We have to keep beating our times and moving forward.”
Becky said it helps to be able to compare the Olympic experience with Ellie and has a simple formula for success - enjoying the hard work: “It’s nice to have someone to share it with. Generally I think we’ve both got our feet on the ground and are acting like normal people. We’re training hard for the Olympics, but we’re looking at it like ‘another meet’. We’ll train hard and race hard.
“It was our childhood dream to get to the Olympics. You have to train hard, keep moving forward and enjoy yourself.
“You have to enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy it then you won’t make it.”