ON THE surface there might not have been much to Grant Turner’s Olympic debut at London 2012, but his outgoing coach Ben Titley believes it was quite the opposite.
Former Swindon Tigershark Turner earned selection for the Games only as part of Britain’s 4x100m freestyle relay team and not even that came easy.
The 23-year-old was off-colour at the first Olympic trials in March, finishing seventh in the 100m, but second at the second qualifier in June saw Turner eventually win a place.
Despite a less than ideal selection process, Turner was the quickest member of the British quartet in the heats, clocking 48.31 seconds as they missed out on the final by less than two seconds.
Had Turner’s teammates swam as fast, Britain would have made the medal showdown and that shouldn’t be lost among the disappointment, according to Titley.
“Grant did a great job,” said Titley, who is leaving his post as head coach of the Loughborough ITC, where Turner trains, for a similar position at the National Swim Centre Ontario in Canada.
“He qualified at the second trials, so he wasn’t on the team originally, and the split he did in the relay was far faster than what he had done previously.
“That shows how far he has come in such a short space of time. He is one of the better swimming stories to emerge from the Olympics.
“He certainly has a great future; he works hard and has a great attitude and is in fact one of the most polite people you will ever meet.”
Britain’s swimmers failed to meet their Olympic medal target of five to seven at London 2012, winning just three, leading to a four-man review into what went wrong and why.
However Titley insists there can be no questioning Turner’s performance with his relay split even quicker than what British champion Adam Brown managed in the individual 100m.
“I think that after every competition you do it is always important to review, whether you have done well or whether you haven’t, because there are always things you’re going to learn,” he added.
“For British Swimming and the Olympics, the word I would use is frustrating, but Grant has now actually put himself as the number one freestyler in the country and that is a tremendous achievement.”
The 2012 Gillette ‘Great Starts’ campaign celebrates community coaches and inspires the next generation of coaches by providing them with grants to fund their next level qualifications.