Victoria 1994: Nick Gillingham (England)

openquote.gifI always relished the challenge with the pressure fuelling my energy; I simply swam for the big time competitions. At the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games, it was seemingly my turn for Gold after getting the World Record at the 1989 European Championships for the 200M BR.

Unforunately, I flew out with acute tonsillitis and swimming way off my pace could only manage a bronze in both the 100M and 200M breaststroke events. It seemed like a massive waiting game until the next opportunity and all my plans were only up to the 1992 Olympic Games at the time. Would 1994 come about, would I be there and, if so, would I take gold?

The year 1994 arrived and the dark month of February turned to see my father pass away very suddenly. I promised myself I would win for him – rather daft really as the outcome is something we can never control.

I missed winning the 100M breaststroke by two hundredths of a second in taking Silver but went on to take Gold over 200M with a Games Record; I was relieved to say the least but I held back the tears after jumping out the pool and punching the air from on top of my starting block! Those Commonwealth Games in Victoria were highly successful for England with medals, and Gold medals, all over the shop.

I just remember it was such an energetic swim team and one full of smiles. We came across all the ‘Australian Team Chants’ and changed the words of course to turn the tables (much to their disgust), unfortunately, team management had the chants confiscated (perhaps because of the language)!

I won a full set of medals as we collected Bronze in the Men’s Medley Relay behind the usual rivals of Australia and Canada. I knew these Games would be my last, and the last they were, along with a very emotional Gold Medal.closequote.gif