IPC Europeans countdown: Q&A with Jack Bridge
While the British Gas GBR Disability Swimming team head into the IPC Swimming European Championships with a host of Paralympic and world champions, there are a number of newcomers on the team looking to make an impression as the Paralympic year closes in.
Preston's Jack Bridge is one of those newcomers. Having made steady progress in recent years, Bridge set a new SB9 British 100m Breaststroke record a month out from his 17th birthday at April's British International Disability Swimming Championships in Sheffield.
With his time of 1:14.26 putting him sixth in this season's SB9 100m Breaststroke world rankings and the youngest swimmer in the top 15, Bridge was rewarded with a place on the British team for Berlin.
How are you feeling about making your major championship debut in Berlin?
I'm really excited. Obviously this is my first international competition so I'm just getting ready at the moment and looking forward to doing my best once the competition starts.
Was European Championship selection one of your main goals for the season?
I was a bit shocked to find out I was on the team actually because my time wasn't actually under the selection time! But now I'm here obviously I want to take this chance and do the best I can.
I hadn't really thought about the competition as a definite target. I was just thinking about moving forward and continuing to put in good performances.
If I do that, hopefully I'll get somewhere in the sport.
How did it feel to break the British SB9 100m Breaststroke record earlier this year?
It was quite a special feeling because I'd been going for that one for a while - since the ASA Nationals last year in August. It had just been that little bit too far away.
I missed out by 0.07 seconds at the trials in Manchester in March and I was absolutely gutted about it. But I'm sure that made me more determined to do it in Sheffield.
I thought in the heats just to go out there and smash it. Then I broke the record again in the final so I was really pleased with that.
Your 100m Breaststroke time from Sheffield has put your sixth in the world this year. Do you keep track of world rankings and other competitors' performances?
Yes. I'm always on the IPC Swimming website looking at the rankings, checking out who is swimming what and how they're performing.
Have you set yourself another target to reach in terms of time?
Not really. I think my target is just to keep improving and getting better. That's all John (Atkinson, National Performance Director) and the staff can ask of me to be honest.
As long as I keep swimming well and improving, I'll be happy and they'll be happy.
Does the atmosphere at a major competition like the Europeans compare to anything else you've ever experienced?
There's a very different atmosphere around this meet compared to being with your own squad at Nationals.
For me, I think it's all about blocking everything out, looking at what you want to do and then doing it in the pool. That's what I'm out here to do.
I'm learning and feeding off my coach Louise Robinson. She's helping me a lot through this, keeping me calm and focused.
You can follow Jack Bridge on Twitter at www.twitter.com/swimmer_JB10
Find out when Jack is competing in Berlin using our MyChamps schedule tool.