Tilly Houston

Tilly Houston – Vice Captain 2014-2015

I started swimming when I was 3 at the David Lloyd Club in Wimbledon and I joined GCSC when I was 12.

My best and favourite stroke is freestyle. My favourite distance used to be 100m, but now it is probably 400m.

The highlight of my swimming career was going to Nationals when I was 13. Our U13 relay team won a bronze medal in the 4 x 100 freestyle relay.

I don’t have much time for much else outside of swimming and schoolwork, but I have managed to keep my position as Centre in my year’s netball team at school. At one point I was selected for the netball England pathway, but I decided that I could not pursue two sports at that intensity. so I chose swimming.

I am taking A levels in Maths, Chemistry and Biology and my plan is to study dentistry when I leave school in 2015.

Before competition I like to eat a big pasta meal the night before and get an early night, packing my bag before I go to bed so that I don’t have to do much thinking in the morning. I have three specific pieces of music that I listen to in the whipping area to help focus.

I feel so lucky that, by chance, we moved when I was five years old to a town that has the best swimming club in the country. The coaches are so supportive and dedicated and they know every individual swimmer’s foibles. All our training sessions are focused and purposeful.

My advice to younger swimmers is to enjoy your PBs while you can as they become harder and harder to obtain as you get older. You need to really enjoy swimming, both training and racing, so that you can take the disappointment when the PBs don’t come when you want them to. And do your hours in the pool and put the effort in when you are training. Make every second in the pool count.