Liam's off to Oz

By KM

26th November 2002

Liam picked for Aussie fast track to Olympics

Britain's hopes for European and Olympic swimming gold have been pinned on
just three of the country's most talented youngsters - and CoCSC's
Liam Wardley is among them.

In January, the 16-year-old
will head to Australia on a two-year fast track programme, aimed at
preparing the swimmers for the European Junior Championships, the Melbourne
Commonwealth Games and the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.

British Swimming is picking up the tab for transportation, swimming expenses
and school fees - they will attend a top Queensland school to ensure their
academic career continues uninterrupted - and is believed to be sending
along a clutch of top coaching staff, physiotherapists and nutritionists.

Liam, who has swum with CoCSC since he was eight after working his way through the council's City Swim programme in short order, was invited on to
British Swimming's World Potential Programme two years ago. His swimming
career to date has been impressive - he won golds at the Nationals in
1998,1999, 2000 and 2001, he scooped the junior title in the 100m individual
medley title at the National Shortcourse Championships at Parkside this
summer, he has held the county champion title for every stroke and age group
he has swum in since the age of 11, he has represented Cambridgeshire in
competition since he was nine, and achieved his first national qualifying
time when he was 10, although he wasn't allowed to compete at the nationals
until the age of 12.

Coached by Tim Westlake, Liam is a regular figure at Parkside Pools, rising
at 4.30am to train five mornings each week and back in the pool for an
evening session. Despite ths gruelling schedule, Liam's dedication and
determination saw him gain five As and four A*s in his GCSEs at Swavesey
Village College in the summer, before moving on to Hills Road Sixth Form
College.

His father John Wardley said: "We're extremely proud of Liam and all that
he's achieved. He is proof that if you are determined enough you can
succeed. We were delighted when he was chosen for the World Potential
Programme and being one of the very few in the country selected to go to
Australia is more recognition of his hard work and dedication."

Coach Tim Westlake said: "Liam has clearly demonstrated what it is possible
to achieve when you are prepared to put in the time and effort. He will be
missed by everyone at the club - we're pleased, though, that he'll still be
swimming for Cambridge every time he competes."

ends.


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