Holly Hibbott, from team ‘Wolfpack’ at Life Leisure’s Stockport Metro Swimming programme, has brought home two Commonwealth Games medals for Team England in her games debut.
The teenager returned on Thursday to a winner’s welcome and homecoming held especially in her honour at the Life Leisure facility, where she was greeted and cheered by her team mates, friends and family.
Securing a silver in the 400m freestyle and a bronze in the 4 x 200m relay, Holly also swam lifetime personal bests in all her events including the 200m and the 800m freestyle. The times Holly posted have automatically qualified her for the European Championships later in the year.
The silver and bronze are Holly’s first major individual games medals – with coaches predicting more to follow in what promises to be the start of a fantastic career for the Stockport 18-year old, including being identified as a possible for Team GB’s Olympic swimming team at the Tokyo 2020 games.
“These wins are just fabulous and I’m still buzzing. I have to say a huge thank you to my swimming team and coaches at Stockport Metro. Over the past few years they’ve really pushed me – without them and the fabulous Life Leisure pool, I wouldn’t be where I am today. This was my first time competing for England, so I was a little nervous, but luckily all my training and practise came together when it really mattered.”
Holly’s Commonwealth Games medals come on the back of a very successful 2017, in which she was selected for British Swimming’s Olympic Podium Potential training, represented Team GB at the Austin leg of the USA Grand Prix, competed in the Speedo Flanders Cup in Belgium where she won gold in the 200m butterfly event, won gold in the 800m freestyle at the Swim England National Winter Championships and competed in the FINA World Championships – her first senior GB team representation.
Hibbott has broken every age group record set by Olympic Champion Rebecca Adlington so far, and at trials in April 2017 beat Jazmin Carlin (two-time Olympic silver medallist in Rio) to secure her place at FINA in Budapest.
Holly has been training with Stockport Metro since 2014. She moved to the Life Leisure facility aged 14 to swim with an adult team and push her professional development. Since moving to Stockport Metro, Holly has been 2014 EU Junior Champion, World Junior medallist Bronze 2015 and EU Junior Silver medallist 2016. She is currently ranked number 4 in the world in the 400 Freestyle.
Stockport Metro Performance Director Sean Kelly said:
“We’re happy with Holly’s progress. She trains hard, never misses a session and is so positive within the group. She deserves her success and we are all aiming to keep moving forward. Winning medals at major competitions is what this club is all about and Holly is a massive part of that success. We have a very strong team right now and our sights are firmly set on how we can get better between now and Tokyo 2020”
Picture captions – all images to be credited to Scott Welsby
Holly with her medals
Holly and coach Sean Kelly
A huge welcome home for Holly