Harvey Freeman is is ready to dominate on the senior stage

·4-min read
Harvey Freeman, who swims for Northampton Swimming Club is closing the gap between himself and Team England inspiration James Wilby.

Northampton's Harvey Freeman is excited to pile on the pressure in the pool.

The 18-year-old who swims for Northampton Swimming Club is closing the gap between himself and Team England inspiration James Wilby.

And the breaststroker has admitted that, although he is continually inspired by those around him, he is ready to make himself the new competition.

He said: "It's really good and it does encourage you but at the same time they are a competitor.

"I'm at an age where now I'm slowly starting to transition into the senior league so now they're the opposition.

"There's so much respect for them and what they've down and now I'm trying to beat them and do what they do.

"Winning medals as such doesn't actually bother me because it's nice but when you move into the seniors it's more the times I'm going for. If the medals come, brilliant.

"When you're at something where you've got James Wilby and Greg Butler and really good 200 breaststrokers, I'm just going in there to swim as fast as I can and if I come out with a medal that's

amazing.

"But I just want to get the best time I can and start putting pressure on the older ones.

"Wilby is really inspirational and to look to him because he's currently the quickest in the country. He probably inspires me the most."

Freeman had his first taste at major success at last summer's European Junior Championships in Rome.

The breaststroker finished sixth in his preferred 200m breaststroke event and qualified for the semi-finals of the 100m as well.

But now, he has his sights firmly set on the future, and making history.

"I want to break the world record in the 200m breaststroke," added Freeman, who has been selected to be part of the Team England Futures programme with Commonwealth Games England and SportsAid.

"It is definitely achievable, I've got many years left in the sport, I've got over six before I even reached my peak and it's going well.

"Right now I want to be getting personal bests, because at the end of the day, the medals will come at a level and the medals are lovely to win but I want to be putting pressure on the senior boys now and to do that I need to be getting the times."

Freeman has an immediate chance to lay down a marker at his second European Junior Championships in Bucharest next week.

And while he will call on his championship experience, one of his main memories from last year's competition has a little less to do with the water.

He said: "The swims when I was out there were really good. The first couple were alright and then the last couple were really good.

"In some aspects, I wasn't happy with the performances. They were still PBs but they just weren't big enough.

"But at the same, I have aimed to peak at one event not expecting to go again in summer so I was tapered in a different way to this year where my peak's hopefully in a couple of weeks' time,

"It was a big team spirit because the football Euros were on at the same time and on the last day we had the Euro final in Italy.

"We all watched it in one room in the hotel on TV, it was a very fun and good atmosphere.

"I learnt not to put too much pressure on myself, to stay relaxed and stay calm.

"In my stroke, I would physically tense up so the performance wouldn't be as good. So keeping relaxed how I have been recently is how I want to keep it."

Commonwealth Games England has appointed SportsAid to lead on the development, management and operational delivery of Team England Futures at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. You can find out more about the programme by visiting https://www.sportsaid.org.uk/partnerships/team-england-futures/.

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