TEENAGER Caitlin Hubbard came home from the Tbilisi 2015 European Youth Olympic Festival with a silver medal after helping Great Britain finish runner-up in the 4x100m medley relay.
The 15-year-old from Solihull swam the butterfly leg as part of the GB team which also included Katie Robertson, Ellinor Southward and Rebecca Sutton.
Caitlin, who was inspired to take up swimming after watching the likes of Rebecca Adlington and Michael Jamieson on her TV during London 2012 three years ago, helped the team home in 4:16.14 behind winners Slovenia.
And speaking after the event she said: “I’m really happy to win the silver and it’s a great way to end the week and really top it off. It was a good swim for me but it was great to have produced it for the team.
“Overall it’s been a good week. I’ve finished it better than I started but I’m pleased with how I’ve done. The highlight is definitely the medal – it’s great to win one as a team.
“The whole environment has been really different from what I’m used to at swimming competitions but I has been a really good experience. If I get the chance to go to big competitions in the future I’ll know more about what to expect and hopefully my performances will improve.
“Everyone on the team gets on really well so it’s been good to get to know each other.
“I’m really proud and honoured to represent my country because it’s not something you always get to do and you dream about it when you’re little so to achieve and experience it has been amazing.”
Caitlin earned her place in the 44-strong GB 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.
The GB team returned home from the European Youth Olympic Festival with 20 medals having collected four gold, eight silver and eight bronze from its time in Georgia.
Gymnastics was the most successful of GB’s five sports, delivering ten of the 20 medals, while there were eight in the pool for the swimmers as well as two cycling bronze. Judo and tennis completed the Team GB competition programme.
The haul helped Team GB finish seventh in the medals table of 50 competing nations with its delegation of 44 athletes.
“It’s been an amazing week,” said Team GB’s Chef de Mission for Tbilisi 2015 and former modern pentathlete Heather Fell.
“The whole team has been great, from the coaches and staff through to the athletes, we all bonded really well and we’ve had some great results and performances too.
“To come back with a top ten finish in the medal table is amazing given the size of our delegation compared to others. I’m really proud of the team.
“The experience the athletes have had is incredible. To have been able to live in an Athlete’s Village and competing at this high level standard in brand new sports facilities is brilliant for their development. It’s had the feel of an Olympic Games, which is a huge learning curve for them. I’m sure they’ll leave here with some amazing memories from their time in Tbilisi.
“They’ve showed maturity beyond their years in dealing with the challenges faced in a multi-sport Games and hopefully that’s something they can take away with them as well as the strong performances on the field of play.”