Holly Hibbott: From spectator at London 2012 to inspiring youngsters in Birmingham

With a home Commonwealth Games just around the corner, we take a look at the athletes who will be competing for Team England this summer.

Holly Hibbott has stressed the importance of inspiring the next generation of athletes, after she was influenced by the London 2012 Olympics.

A decade on from the last home Games in England and Hibbott is hoping the team can provide that same inspiration for youngsters across the nation with their performances in Birmingham.

She started her career at Southport Swimming Club before moving to Stockport Metro, and is now part of the team at the Bath National Centre.

Recalling her time in the stands at the London Aquatics Centre, the 22-year-old said: “The thing that inspired me was the London 2012 Olympics.

“Having a home Games – I actually went to watch it as a swimmer myself, so that really inspired me, seeing all of them compete. That’s something I always wanted to do.

“I think it’s really important to inspire the next generation of swimmers because we aren’t going to be around forever.

“We’ve got to keep people moving through, from starting off at a young age and progressing through.”

In a message to those younger swimmers up and down the country, Hibbott added: “I would just say enjoy it as much as you can.

“Take everything and enjoy it and get as much as you can from it.”

The home crowd is backing you

This summer will be the second time Hibbott has represented Team England, having been part of the 2018 Commonwealth Games squad.

She picked up two medals on Australia’s Gold Coast – silver in the 400m Freestyle and bronze in the 4x200m Freestyle relay.

On her aspirations for the Games, she said: “I’ve recently changed strokes, so it’s a bit of a different one for me, but to make a final would be great.

“Just to go and do my best and get a best time would be what I’m looking for.

“I’m really excited to represent Team England again for my second Commonwealth Games and this time it’s a home Games, so it’s really exciting.

“Hopefully I’ll have some of my family there to watch, which would be great, and you know the home crowd is backing you as well, so you can use that to your advantage.

“I’m really looking forward to it.”

Main picture: Team England