October 1st, 2016

Neil Smith targeting Gold on timely return to the pool

Updated: 9:43 am, Jul 01, 2015

NEIL Smith is rolling back the years after coming out of retirement and qualifying for the European Swimming Championships ten years after competing in his last race.

The veteran swimmer first got into the sport in the late 70’s and first represented Great Britain back in 1992.

The 50-year-old, from Knowle, has swam in no fewer than six World Championships, the last of which came ten years ago in 2005.

But after returning to the pool Smith won the 100m freestyle, 50m butterfly, 50m backstroke, 200m freestyle, 50m freestyle at Nationals back in March to qualify for the England for the 2015 CPISRA World Games in Nottingham later this year.

And Smith admits he is targeting Gold again having already tasted success in the World Disability Swimming Championships

“I was coming up to 40 and I think I’d swam so much that I just got a bit bored of swimming,” Neil told the Observer.

“I took an interest in rowing and then I enjoyed that for about seven years until around 2012.

“But it was last year when I decided to get back into the pool.

“You’re not too sure of the competition but at the moment I’m just very pleased to have qualified.

“There will be rivals there that are 30-40 years younger than me but I’ve just got to be the best I can be and I would very much like to medal.”

Smith has previously appeared in six World Championships and won four Gold medals, as well as setting a new world record, in Connecticut, USA in July 2014.

He picked up the Disabled Sportsperson of the Year accolade at the BBC Midlands Sports Awards back in 2005 and was the oldest member of the Great Britain squad back in 2004 at 40 years of age.

Smith has been supported locally by Jim Grosvenor from Construction Services UK Ltd, who have donated over £1,500 towards his entry fees and training.

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