Edinburgh 1986: Andy Jameson (England)

By the time of the 1986 Commonwealth Games I’d been to the Olympics and won a European championships medal and this was almost a good practice for the Olympics coming up, but I still waned to do well at these Games themselves.

There had been some political issues before them, with some countries boycotting over South Africa, but while it was something we were aware of as athletes, but I couldn’t do anything about it and all I could do was just go along and compete the best I could do against whoever showed up and whoever was allowed to swim .

I clearly had a chance of a medal, but Canada’s Tom Ponting was the favourite, he was the Commonwealth record holder at the time, and there was a fast guy called Anthony Moss from New Zealand who was probably a better 200 swimmer. But I would have been very disappointed if I didn’t win a medal. Everything was in alignment for me to do as well as I possibly could do, there was no, excuses outside of the pool and it was a meet at home, which made everything much simpler too.

But the 100m final didn’t go all to plan. I actually swallowed water going into the turn, one of those ones where your eyes start popping out, which was not ideal. And it was the three of us, me Tom and Anthony, in a line down the second 50, but I thought they were ahead of me because I could see their splash landing on the water in front of me.

I think I remember rightly Tom Ponting came back very, very quickly and very nearly caught me up so, I suppose in a sense it was well judged but I just swam as fast as I could, touched the wall and whoever won, won. Luckily that was me and to win in front of my family the first time they went to a major international and watched was fantastic.

And the atmosphere was great and the swimming crowd in Edinburgh was fantastic. The teams were also right on the poolside supporting with the English team at about the 25 m mark on the left hand side and the Scottish team slap bang behind the blocks too.

That was actually quite handy because for one of my finals, I was about to swim when my goggles snapped, so I turned around to Robin Brew in the Scotland team, who I knew well, and asked if they had any spares! Luckily one of the ladies on the team found me a pair, they fitted, and I swam, so that was very lucky.

There were lots of fun things at those Games, like sneaking a friend from the rowing team into the stands for the swimming or eating lunch with Princess Diana, almost accidentally, when the meet had finished. But they were great all round and you make such good friendships – I’m still in contact with Tom Ponting and Anthony Moss – it was a great privilege to be there. 

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