Local swimmer Robbie Jones has been on a big journey to reach where he is now, named in Jersey’s Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games squad.
Dan Andrade caught up with the swimming star ahead of this summer’s games and spoke about his career to date, as well as his goals for Birmingham 2022!
The full interview can be found below!
What are your earliest memories of swimming?
I began competing quite young at the age of 9. Throughout my younger years I was inspired by some of the older swimmers on the island encouraged me to begin training harder and more consistently, which led to qualifying for my first national championships at aged 11, inevitably beginning my swimming career.
How important was Nathan in your development throughout your younger years?
Fun fact – not only did Nathan coach me in my younger years he also taught me how to swim. He was really important in my younger years not only making me work hard but also making the training enjoyable, which especially helped when young whilst doing multiple sports, encouraging me to take the swimming route. Also, with experience training under multiple different coaches in different places across the UK, I can say that the training environment Nathan creates is amazing, hence the success with swimming on the island in recent years.
How big was the step to go to Mount Kelly boarding school to swim and how was that experience for you?
It was a huge step in my career, especially moving away from family and friends at only 16. Nathan however encouraged the decision to enhance my training with better facilities like training in a long course pool for example. Furthermore, it helped me transition into my university programme easily adapting to high training demands.
You reached the final in the Youth Commonwealth Games – how much did you learn from that?
The youth commonwealth games was my first international level competition I took part in. Going there was a significant step in my career but then making a final was even better, swimming besides future Olympic medalists in an international level final at only aged 15. This was one of my most memorable moments in the sport.
You went on to go to Gibraltar winning multiple medals – tell us about that games?
Gibraltar was another stepping stone, a great experience representing Jersey again, although the standard isn’t quite near the Commonwealths. It still provided a great team environment and demonstrated the means of representing the island.
How do you focus before such big events?
The main focus before big events is trusting the process of work that I have completed prior to the competition, not letting the nerves get the better of me, otherwise all the hard work put in doesn’t pay off in the way it should.
How much of a privilege is it to be going to Birmingham?
It has been the main focus ever since I started competing in Jersey. You can’t compete at a higher level whilst representing the island therefore it is a great privilege. I am very proud to be apart of it and hope to succeed by reaching my goals.
How much do you enjoy representing Jersey at such games?
Representing Jersey over the years has always been fun and the team environment is strong. Competing with friends and you tend to know other people representing in different sports, unlike other nations.
How is training going in preparation for this summer?
Although Covid has limited training opportunity in the past couple years, my training has been uninterrupted for a while, and as of now I feel in the best shape I have ever done at this point in the season from any previous year, so hopefully this will carry through to the summer.
Finally, what are your goals for Birmingham?
It would be my dream to make a final at the games, it will take a great race to do so however I am confident that I will be in for a fighting chance, so we will have to wait and see.