|He Turned Out To Be A Right Charlie!
We speak to Britain's great 2012 Olympic hope Charles Turner
Considering who Charlie Turner's parents are, it is not surprising that the 25 year old Ealing club swimmer is one of Britain's great hopes for 2012 Olympics.
"Both my parents swam in the Olympics," explains Charlie. "My dad Mike Turner in 1968 and my mum, Diana Sutherland, qualified for 1968 and broke her ankle and then four years later went in 1972 when she was 17. They both did quite well so I kind of followed in their footsteps, it’s in my genes!"
Charlie started swimming at a very young age but when his parents split when he was 12 he gave up swimming and didn’t get back into the pool until he was 17.
"When I went to Loughborough University they wouldn’t let me into a squad, they said I wasn’t good enough to get in. So I trained myself for three months and they let me into the team and I was able to earn a sport scholarship.
"I made it as far as Universities champion; I took it seriously then but not as seriously as I take it now. I wasn’t in the International arena at that point, it wasn’t until I got to Ealing Swimming Club and spoke to my coach I'm with now, Dave Heathcock, that we decided it was worth having a go at Bejing."
Fortuitously someone overhead Charlie and Dave talking one morning and offered Charlie a part time job working with a sports nutritionist which was flexible enough for him to quit his job in the city and concentrate more time on training.
"I was getting up at 5 every morning, training from 5.30 to 7.30 then going straight to work, working all day and then going back to the pool 5.00 until 8.00 at night and then getting back home for 8.30. I was out of the house from 5.30 until 8.30 at night doing two training sessions a day trying to make the Olympics, it was really tough.
"I was quickest guy that year but six weeks before the Olympic trials meet I got an injury in my right arm bicep tendon went. I got to the meet and finished third in the 50 freestyle sprint so didn’t make the team which was a real blow. But it got me recognized, people didn’t know me before that, it was my break through swim and pushed me forward to where I am now.
Qualifying for the 2012 Olympics takes place three months before the games in the new purpose built Stratford pool. It will be a seven day meet which will also act as a run through for officials.
"I don’t know how they are going to select yet, they’ll probably give a qualifying time which will be the top six in the world and then you have to win your race too. We’ve still got a wait to find out what it will be. Four years work comes down to that one week."
Out of the pool, Charlie trains with Gavin Sunshine at Chiswick's new Gym Clinic which helps him enormously but it's only the tip of the funding iceberg
Being Britain's number one, all costs associated with GB selections and events are covered by the British National Team but other races, hotels, travel, training, osteopaths, rent, transport etc come out of Charlie’s pocket which is why he needs financial sponsorship.
Charlie believes more funding is needed to help senior athletes remain in their chosen field. "From my experience and from speaking to other friends who are in the sport if you’re at the very top end of sport you’re fine, you’ve got your private sponsorship deals as well as support from the Government. But as senior athletes we don’t get anywhere near as much support as we need. I’ve got friends who had to sign on the dole and they’re out there representing their country. To me that doesn’t sound right.
"I think they need to address how they are going to keep senior swimmers, senior athletes generally in the sport the people who are just on the cusp of stepping through to medal opportunities it’s how you keep those guys going."
He added, "I think it’s going to be interesting after 2012. A lot of senior athletes have stayed on for 2012 with it being a home Olympics. Once 2012 has gone, the country is going to lose not only the senior athletes but those who would have left at a younger age. Potentially the country will lose a whole load of athletes, I’ve got a feeling a lot of people are going to retire after 2012."
Facts about Charlie:
Name: Charles Turner
Coach: Dave Heathcock
2010: To medal at the Commonwealth Games in India and to stay injury free!
January 28, 2010