April Swimming Times: The meteoric rise of Ben Titley
22 March 2011
In April’s Swimming Times, Chris Cottrell caught up with British Gas ITC Loughborough head coach Ben Titley and grilled him on his rapid rise to the top of the sport.
Swimming coaching is and always has been an unbridled passion for Titley.
My parents told me no-one ever makes money being a swimming coach - you should probably do something else.
So keen was he to pursue the career that he travelled to Loughborough University a week before starting his Sports Science degree to ingratiate himself with the incumbent coaches.
“To this day I remember sitting down with my parents and them asking why I was going to do sport science,” he recalled.
“I told them I wanted to be a swimming coach and they said no-one ever makes money being a swimming coach – you should probably do something else.
“But I said that’s what I want to do. You’re never going to be a millionaire being a swimming coach but at least I would have a job I enjoyed.”
Millionaire he may not be, but in swimming coaching terms, Titley has amassed an embarrassment of riches that belie his 34 years of age.
A two-time British Swimming Coaches Association Coach of the Year, Titley has coached multiple champions at world, European and Commonwealth level over both short and long course.
Perhaps the only thing missing from his CV is an Olympic medallist but with Tancock, Halsall and Simmonds making waves on the international scene this Olympiad, few would be shocked if that changes at London 2012.
It would have been a super-exciting opportunity to work abroad but 2012 is too much of a big deal.
Although Titley admits he could have been approaching next year’s Olympic Games from a very different perspective.
“After Beijing, I had offers to be head coach of other European countries and offers to go to Australia,” said Titley.
“It would’ve been super-exciting opportunities for me but 2012 is too much of a big deal.
“The thing that made me stay the most is that I pictured Sean Kelly (British Gas ITC Stockport head coach) walking out in a GB tracksuit in front of a home crowd and me walking out in another nation’s tracksuit in front of a British crowd.
“And I thought – I don’t want that to happen!
"Forget the financial things, forget job opportunities - it's an experience for me to be involved in something very special."
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