Rebecca Sherwin excited to be flying the flag for Ipswich at European Games in Azerbaijan

Rebecca Sherwin

Rebecca Sherwin - Credit: Gregg Brown

Rebecca Sherwin is poised to take her first step on the international ladder and is excited at the prospect of representing her country in the pool.

The 14-year-old Team Ipswich swimmer is one of 24 youngsters, aged between 14 and 18, who will fly out to Azerbaijan next Thursday, for the inaugural European Games.

The multi-games event begins today but the Felixstowe Academy pupil will have until June 23 to compose herself before taking to the water in the junior 50, 100 and 200m backstroke events at the Baku Aquatics Centre.

While this will be Rebecca’s first major championships away from home, she was selected for the British Swimming Podium Potential group in January and learned a lot about big-tournament expectations at the Speedo Antwerp Cup in January.

“I am really nervous, I have never done anything like this before,” said the talented teenager.

“But I am really excited and it is going to be a good experience which will stand me in good stead as I continue in my swimming career.

“I guess my main aim is to win a gold medal but I would be pleased with personal bests and my training and preparation has been going well.”

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Rebecca has been involved in swimming since the age of nine and has been expertly mentored by the coaches at Team Ipswich including the vastly-experienced Dave Champion, pictured below with Rebecca, who was the mentor of four-time Commonwealth world champion, Karen Pickering.

“Everyone has been really supportive and have just been telling me to do my best and enjoy the experience,” she added.

Baku is the capital of Azerbaijan and will host the European Grand Prix next year, as well as being one of the host cities at the Euro 2020 football tournament.

“I don’t know how much spare time I will get but it’s pretty cool to go to a country where I would not normally choose to go,” explained Rebecca.

“I will be meeting a lot of new people, including my team-mates, and it will give me the chance to experience a new culture.”

The European Games will stage 30 different sports, including boxing, diving and gymnastics.

Amongst the athletes competing for Team GB will be Olympic champion boxer and Britain’s flag-bearer, Nicola Adams, Olympic taekwondo champion Jade Jones and highly-rated canoe sprinter Ed McKeever.

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