Fri | Oct 19, 2018

Swimmer Haughton holds Olympic dreams

Published:Monday | November 3, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Swimmer Nicholas Haughton is eyeing participation in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

The Campion College upper sixth-form student made it clear during a recent interview that he would be doing everything in his power towards making the cut in six years time.

"I wish to qualify and compete in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan," Haughton told The Gleaner, while speaking on his ambitions for the future.

Haughton, though fully aware that his current personal best marks are well behind the standards required for sport's greatest stage, underlined that he is determined to put in the required work to make his dream a reality.

learning to swim

Interestingly, for the youngster, learning to swim years ago was simply a means of learning to protect himself. Haughton explained that his father, Norman, sent him to learn to swim a decade or so ago, making the first stroke in an ever-growing love for the sport.

"My father sent me to take swimming lessons in case I got into problems in the water. After a while it felt good and I decided to participate competitively," Nicholas shared.

"I also played cricket in the first two years at Campion College but quit to focus on swimming," he also said.

Since then, he has represented Jamaica at the Carifta Swimming Championships for three years. He last represented Jamaica at the Pan American Olympic Sports Festival in September in Mexico.

"It was a great experience to see what is out there. It is a learning experience. I qualified for the B Final in the 100m backstroke and placed seventh. That was a good feeling," Nicholas recalled.

One of Nicholas' coaches, Gillian Millwood, says the teenager has a good chance of making the Olympics in six years time.

"He is a powerful young man. Our goal is to drop five seconds off his best times by December - then three more seconds by next April. Nicholas is now training with some good partners," Millwood said.

"Once he puts his mind to it, he should be able to realise the goal of qualifying for the Olympic Games. And that would make any coach happy," she said.

finding balance

"Nicholas must focus on balancing his academics with the sport. He has to balance sixth form work with his training schedule. He understands that he can swim beyond age 17 and be competitive," the coach added.

The 17-year-old is a former captain of Campion's team,  a position he held for two years. He remains a member of the school team.

He is a recipient of the Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce Pocket Rocket Foundation scholarship awarded last month.

Encouraged by supportive parents, Nicholas has passes in eight subjects at CSEC, as well as four at CAPE. He intends to study actuarial science.

- Marc Stamp