DORRIDGE swimmer Caitlin Hubbard makes her bow for Team GB next week in what she hopes will be the first step on a journey taking her to the 2020 Olympic Games.
The 14-year-old says she was inspired by the exploits of Rebecca Adlington OBE and Michael Jamieson in London 2012 and next week she will be part of Team GB for the week-long European Youth Olympic Festival in Tbilisi, Georgia, which begins on Sunday.
Caitlin earned her place in 44-strong squad after impressing at her first British Swimming Championships in April, winning 100m butterfly gold and silver over 200m in the London Aquatics Centre.
Her dream is to represent her country when the Olympics return to Tokyo, Japan, in 2020.
“Every swimmer would love to make it to the Olympics,” said the Arden Academy pupil.
“I would love to make it to the Olympics at Tokyo and the European Youth Olympics is a great first step on that road. I need to train even harder if I’m going to make it and obviously doing well in Tbilisi would be really great.
“London 2012 was great. I was most inspired by Rebecca Adlington and Michael Jamieson who were brilliant and won medals.”
Caitlin, who started swimming competitively for Solihull aged eight, travels to Tbilisi buoyed by her London performances.
“I am really excited about heading out to Tbilisi and it will be a really good opportunity to get out and race for Team GB at a multi-sport event,” she said.
“I haven’t represented Team GB before although I did go to Italy with the England Talent Squad which was a really good experience.
“Being in the England squad made me more proud and, while actually competing for Team GB would mean a lot more pressure, it would be really exciting too.
“The highlight so far this year was the British Championships as I did really well and I won the 100m fly and came second in the 200m fly.
“I had never experienced a senior British Championships before so it was really good to race there and see what it was like.
“I wasn’t expecting to medal either so to come away with a first and a second was great and it gives me loads of confidence heading to Tbilisi.”
Caitlin represented England earlier this year in the International Energy Standard Meet in Italy.
“It was my first experience of international competition. I won three silver medals there and I think it has help my confidence for swimming at this level,” she said.
The 16 swimmers heading to Tbilisi have big shoes to fill after their peers won 23 medals at the inaugural European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan – finishing second in the medal table behind only Russia.
Caitlin’s fellow City of Birmingham Swimming Club star Luke Davies took 200m breaststroke bronze in Baku and the teenager is eager to follow suit.
“Everyone in Baku did really well and it was really good to see and to think that I am not far behind them now,” Caitlin added.
“Luke swam the 200m breaststroke and won a bronze and I want to perform similar to how he did and hopefully I can.”
To follow the team at Tbilisi 2015, visit www.TeamGB.com or via Twitter using @TeamGB.