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Swimmer Clogg basks in his first taste of a major Games

Proud teenager Elliot Clogg with the two silver medals he won at the Commonwealth Games.
Proud teenager Elliot Clogg with the two silver medals he won at the Commonwealth Games.

Ambitious Mansfield swimmer Elliot Clogg says he is hungry for more after basking in his first taste of a major international Games.

“What an amazing experience!” beamed the 18-year-old after he had returned to the family home at Cavendish Park, Clipstone with two silver medals from the Commonwealth Games.

Mansfield's Elliot Clogg in his Team England gear at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia.

Mansfield's Elliot Clogg in his Team England gear at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia.

“I loved my time on the Gold Coast in Australia. The experience was unreal. There were sold-out crowds of 10,000, easily the most I have ever raced in front of.

“I now know what a senior Games feels like, and it’s something I’d love to do again.”

The chances of Clogg getting his wish -- and maybe even making the Olympic Games of 2020 in Tokyo -- increased considerably with his performances Down Under.

Although he was out of luck in his two individual events, he helped Team England to the runners-up spot in the 4X100m individual medley and 4X100m freestyle relays.

Mansfield swimmer Elliot Clogg in full flow.

Mansfield swimmer Elliot Clogg in full flow.

He acquitted himself well in the heats of both events before cheering on the ‘A team’ in the finals. They were pipped to the gold medal by a whisker in the medley final.

“I had two days off before the first relay, so it was hard to stay in the right mindset,” said Clogg. “But I was happy with how I swam.”

He weas also praised for the gutsy and level-headed way he overcame the disappointment of a rare below-par performance in his main individual event, the 100m backstroke. He stormed to victory in his heat, clocking the fifth fastest time, but could finish only sixth in the semi-finals after a hiccup in his pre-race routine.

“The coach advised me to wear heated trousers before the race,” Clogg explained. “But I’d never worn them before, and I think I overheated.

“My goggles steamed up and with the floodlights of the outdoor pool reflecting on them, I couldn’t see properly during the race and kept hitting the lane rope.

“It was all part of the learning experience for me, and I will try to take the positives from it.”

Similar sentiments applied after Clogg’s secondary individual event, the 100m freestyle, where he trailed home eighth in the heats, although his time was not far off his personal best.

“I struggled to find my easy speed,” he said. “I did the video analysis after the race, and something clearly wasn’t right.”

Nevertheless, Clogg was urged to feel only pride at representing England at the Games in what is his first full year as a senior swimmer after breaking British records and landing national titles as a junior, and only turning 18 just before Christmas.

Pride was certainly coursing through the veins of mum Sharon, 46, dad Derek, 49, and big sister Lauren, 21, as they watched his exploits on TV back home.

“As a family, we were very happy,” said Sharon. “Just to be selected and to be given that sort of opportunity at such a young age was amazing.”

It justified all the time and expense that mum and dad had given to ensure that Clogg was able to go training every morning and evening after taking up the sport as an eight-year-old.

The former Meden School pupil followed in his sister’s footsteps by joining Sherwood Colliery Swimming Club in Mansfield, where his potential was quickly recognised. He soon became part of the Nottinghamshire Nova Centurion county squad and, at 14, he switched to the City Of Sheffield club.

Last year, he made another move to the Loughborough National Centre to come under the wing of coach Mel Marshall and work alongside world superstar Adam Peaty.

But now he is back at Sheffield to be reunited with his favourite coach, Mike Taylor, who has returned there after a spell at Bath.

“Mike was my first coach at Sheffield, and we bonded so well,” said Clogg. “He understood me as a swimmer and as a person, and I progressed so quickly under him.

”The tough mental challenges set by my coach, as well as my love of the sport, are what motivate me.”

Clogg also receives funding as part of British Swimming’s World-Class Programme, which aims to identify, develop and support talented swimmers in their pursuit of international success.

His next port of call will be the National Championships, his first as a senior, in the summer. But for now, he is happy to revel in his memories of Australia.

“Whenever I have those dark days in training, I can think back to what it was like in the Commonwealth Games,” he said. “That can drive me on.

“The Olympics in 2020 would be a good thing to aim for now. By then, I will have had two more years under my belt with Mike and, as a 20-year-old, I should be in my prime area.

“Places in the 100m backstroke team are wide open, and they will always need someone to swim the backstroke leg in the medley relay.”

Dreams maybe. But ones that don’t seem so fanciful after Elliot Clogg’s silver successes on the Gold Coast.