In a remarkable feat, 16-year-old swimmer Sophia Gledhill, hailing from Bradford, has clinched a coveted spot in the upcoming British Swimming Championships and Olympic trials.
Sophia’s triumphant moment came during the Derby Excel New Year Meet in Sheffield on January 19, where she clocked an impressive time of 2:23:29 in the 200m butterfly event. This stellar performance not only secured her qualification but also surpassed her previous personal best of 2:23:60.
Representing the City of Bradford Swimming Club at the Sheffield meet, Sophia showcased her dedication to the sport fostered through the Bradford Council’s Elite Swimming and Development Scheme, a program she has been part of since the tender age of nine.
Sophia, who trains at Shipley and Eccleshill Pools nine times a week said; “My goal for this year was to try and qualify for the British Championships, I knew it was going to be tough with it also being an Olympic trial event and I am so pleased to have achieved it!
“I’ve not had the opportunity to compete at the London Aquatic Centre yet, so I’m really excited! I’m very grateful for the support my coach has given me over the last few years to help me get to this point. Fingers crossed I can do him, and Bradford proud!”
Andrew Pearce, Senior Coach at Bradford Aquatics said; “I’m so proud of Sophia on gaining a qualification time for this April’s British Championships and Olympic trials. Her qualification is a testament to her ongoing attitude and her application both in training and at competition. She is an excellent role model to the other swimmers in her squad and I would like to wish her good luck in the upcoming Olympic Trials in London at the beginning of April”.
Sophia’s achievement is historic for Bradford, making her the first swimmer from the region to qualify for the Olympic Trials since Sian Morgan in 2012. While Sian narrowly missed representing TeamGB, she proudly represented her country at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and 2014.
The stage is now set for Sophia as she prepares to compete at the London Aquatic Centre, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, from April 2 to 7, 2024, in the highly anticipated Olympic Trials.