ULVERSTON torpedo Joe Elwood has his eyes set on Olympic glory after being crowned national backstroke champion.
The 20-year-old set a new county record when he powered home in the 50m backstroke in a time of 26 seconds flat at the British Gas ASA National Championships in Sheffield.
It was the Loughborough University student’s second national title of the season after being crowned British University Champion in November.
And the former Ulverston Otter is now in training as he looks to complete another strong year in the pool - with a date at the 2016 Rio Olympics firmly in his sight.
“You can’t qualify until the olympic year so this season I am going to try to do well in the World University Games in South Korea in March,” he said.
“I have been watching my idols at the olympics for so long, I just want to compete.”
Elwood, who is just about to enter his third year at university, had qualified in first position in the heats of the 50m backstroke with a time of 26.22.
“It was a great win and my second title this year, I’m still looking to break the magic 26 barrier but I’m sure I can do that this coming season,” said Elwood.
His week at nationals began in stunning fashion as he set a personal best of 55.67 in the 100m Butterfly and Elwood also added the 200m backstroke into his growing portfolio of swims.
“Being a sprinter, I don’t usually do the 200m event but I am working on it this next year and hope to be swimming it at next years world trials,” he added.
Elwood swam a personal best of 2.04.22 in the heat and swam faster again in the final with 2.03.66.
Next up was the 50m butterfly where Elwood swam another best of 25.47, a time which will qualifys him for the British Championships next year.
The final day saw Elwood swimming the 100m Backstroke, qualifying easily for the final.
“In the final, I cramped up a little in my legs which made me lose time on the second 50m but overall I was pleased with my time which was just 0.1 over my best in 55.76,” he said. “My coach
Ian Armiger says that this next year I will blow that time out of the water, so I am really looking forward to that happening."
Elwood has recently returned from a training camp in Canada with members of their national squad where he trained under Ben Titley, the one time coach of world record holder Liam Tancock.
“It was a great experience learning from Ben. We worked on my start and it has improved greatly. Hopefully I can go back next year and gain a few more tips."
The speedster is looking for local businesses that may be able to help sponsor him on his road to Rio 2016 and the Gold Coast 2018 in Australia.
“Swimming is a very expensive sport and due to the lack of funding all of my swimming and gym fees, transport, kit and competition fees all have to be self-funded,” he said.
If any companies would like to support Elwood contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org.