Sport Editor Lucy Parry talks to Ollie Morgan about his success at the 2023 British Swimming Championships and his experiences at the World Championships
Ollie Morgan described himself as “Hardworking, dedicated and coachable”, perhaps the ultimate description of a sportsperson. Morgan started swimming competitively aged 11 but with no opportunity to train at the top level, he said “It wasn’t until I moved to the University of Birmingham that I began to challenge the best.” He said that training at UoB has assisted his development massively because “It’s been a fantastic environment to be within and has been pivotal in pushing my career to the next level. The University Swim team has been incredibly supportive, and this paired with the amazing scholarship programme, has given me support to take me to an elite level.”
Morgan won the 50m backstroke, 100m backstroke and 200m backstroke at the British Swimming Championships in April 2023. Even the most dedicated swimming fans were surprised by Morgan sweeping all the backstroke events; did he shock himself as well? “It wasn’t something I expected, but we knew that there were going to be some good swims that week. The week prior to competing at British Champs I’d picked up an injury which kept me out of the pool for a few days so my prep had changed a little but we adapted and things worked out really well.” In winning these events and meeting the consideration standards, Morgan earned himself a place on the British team for the 2023 World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan in July.
What does a typical training day look like for him? “[It] consists of waking up at 6am ready to get some food in my system and then heading to the pool for a 2-hour morning swim. I then head home and have some more food. I will then go into Uni for 2 hours of lectures. I then head back home for some more food and take a nap. I’ll then wake up, have some lunch and head to sport & fitness for a physio session. Finally in the evening I’ll have another swim session for 1 hour 30 mins and finish the day with a big meal.”
His favourite event is the 100m backstroke, although he does love all three of the backstroke events. The 100m “is a thrilling race that requires both speed and tactics. You need to be perfect with everything you do, and it requires a level of strength and endurance.”
British Swimming arranged two preparation camps for the team, which Morgan said helped them to “get to know each other” and “gel really well”. The team also went on a holding camp in Kagoshima. Morgan described this as a “fantastic experience” and said that “Kagoshima city was an amazing place and [the people] were so welcoming, we got to see lots of their culture with them putting on various events for us including a lantern festival and fireworks display.”
Morgan came 9th in both the 100m and 200m backstroke. How would he reflect on his results from the World Championships? “For my first international appearance, I have to be over the moon with being able to progress my swims throughout all my performances at Worlds.” He swam a personal best every time he raced in Fukuoka. He added, “To be 9th in both individuals was exceptional, but being so close to the finals each time was slightly bittersweet. It is only motivating me more moving into the future.”
I asked Morgan who his sporting hero is: “Someone like Cristiano Ronaldo,” he replied. “Not only does he possess a huge amount of talent but he pairs this with hard work and dedication day in, day out.”
His goals for 2024 are “to make the Olympic team for Paris 2024 and be able to push on my performances on the International stage.”
Redbrick will be rooting for him all the way.
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