8:20am Saturday 18th February 2012
By Graham Moody
At the British Swimming Championships next month, some of Britain’s best swimmers will be throwing down a marker to the rest of the world ahead of this summer’s Olympics.
The likes of Rebecca Adlington, Fran Halsell and Liam Tancock will be looking to secure their place at the Games during the championships at the Olympic Park’s Aquatics Centre, which doubles up as the trials for London 2012.
But among them will be one teenage girl from Ewell doing her best to make an impression of her own.
Georgia Smith, of Epsom District Swimming Club, is just 13 but has qualified for the 50m freestyle event at the championships which take place over seven days from March 3.
Eleven-time British Champion Halsell, who has won the 50m freestyle event for the past four years, is the stand out name among the 51 entrants into the event and, incredibly, Smith is not the youngster competitor, with seven other swimmers taking part that were born more recently than her.
But while she is unlikely to come up against Halsell in the heats – as swimmers are drawn against others of similar ability – Smith, who clocked 28.56 seconds to qualify, the sixth slowest qualifying time and four seconds behind Halsell, could not be more excited.
“I am really excited and really looking forward to it,” said the Blenheim High School pupil.
“I am in the 50m freestyle which is my favourite event and I also like the other short distances, the 100m or 250m.
“It would be great to meet some of the older Olympic swimmers, like Rebecca Adlington and Fran Halsall.
“It would be especially good to see Halsall and, hopefully, she might be in a heat only a couple behind me.
“I am going there for the experience and to see the Olympic Venue, I haven’t been there before and didn’t get tickets to the Olympics.
“I would like to think I have a chance to get a medal in my age group but I am not actually sure if they do that at the national championships.”
This year’s Games come too early for Smith but she has lofty goals in her sights, with the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and 2020 Olympics all realistic targets.
“I would love to swim professionally but it is really tough,” she said.
“I am going to keep training and I hope to go to the real Olympics one day.
“I have been competing since I was 10 but started going through the squad system at age eight.
“I have won titles at Surrey County Championships and won a bronze so far this year.”
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