Horsham swim coach ‘predicted’ Olympic heroics

JPCT. Michael Jamieson. Pic by Jamie McPhillmey
JPCT. Michael Jamieson. Pic by Jamie McPhillmey

When British swimmer Michael Jamieson beat his own national record to win Olympic silver, Horsham swimming coach Bill Penny allowed himself a quiet smile of satisfaction.

It was the outstanding performance in and otherwise below par Games for Team GB’s swimmers, and amid the cacophany of noise one man watching had more reason than most to savour the 23-year-old’s phenominal achievement.

Penny, head coach at Horsham-based Atlantis Swiming Club, was Jamieson’s coach during his formative years between the age of 11 and 16 at the Glasgow School of Sport, where his special talent was first identified and nurtured.

“I have no doubt that Michael will only get better. He has the chance now to become one of the all-time greats of British swimming whose name will rank alongside other great breast-strokers like Wilkie and Goodhew,” Bill said.

“Michael can be a great inspiration to my current swimmers. He has great talent, but he also shows what you can achieve by hard work and commitment to your sport.”

And it seems it was meant to be with Bill getting tickets in the blllot for the 200m breast, the only one he applied for, confident his protege would make the final. He even predicted - long before the Games began - to his current crop of Atlantis swimmers - that Michael would achieve a pb time of 2.07 to be among the medals, tweeting a picture with his car with the number plate MJ07 to Michael before the final.

And the rest was history as Jamieson broke the British record three times in two days to take a fantastic silver medal in a time of 2.07.43.

A group of Atlantis swimmers spent a day with Jamieson when he atteneded a Sussex County training day in February 2010.

Atlantis have enjoyed unprecedented success in eight years under Bill’s stewardship, and swimmers have resumed training for the start of the new season, starting today (September 9) with the Sussex County Relay Championships.