Welsh teenager Chloe Tutton admits she has defied expectations to make Team GB’s swimming squad for the Olympics.
The 19-year-old, who broke the British 200m breaststroke record in April, will join Welsh team-mates Jazz Carlin, Georgia Davies and Ieuan Lloyd in Rio.
“I was excited and shocked to be picked,” admitted Tutton.
“And I didn’t think many people expected me to have made the team before the British trials. I’m amazed. I’m so proud of myself.”
The City of Cardiff club swimmer lowered her personal best by three seconds to secure 200m breaststroke gold at the British trials in Glasgow last week.
Her rise to Olympic stardom began when Pontypridd-born Tutton moved to Cardiff aged 12 to pursue her swimming ambitions.
Tutton says “hard work and dedication” brought her international honours with Wales on the way to securing a place at Rio – but has also fought back from illness.
“It’s been about hard work and just dedication,” said Tutton. “You have to turn up to a swimming pool a lot to get this far and I’m really proud of myself.
“It’s not always been easy going for me. From the age of 12, I moved to Cardiff and that’s where my training first picked up.
“I fell ill with glandular fever, at, I think, 16, so I was out of swimming for a few years and then I came back when I was 17 or 18 and ever since then it’s been pretty good. I’ve just been getting better every day.”
Tutton says her mother was first to offer congratulations.
“We were just in disbelief,” said the teenager. “We were just looking at each other and she was just saying ‘I knew you could do it’. It was just nice, supportive things.”
Tutton will go to Rio focusing on lowering her personal best rather then a podium finish.
“I’m not really sure if I’m chasing a medal in particular,” she admitted. “I just want to do my best, but if that gets me a medal, then that’s amazing.”
Tutton cites former double Welsh Olympic medalist David Davies, who won 1500m bronze on his Olympic debut aged just 19, as her inspiration.
“I was just young and he’s a Welshman so everybody was cheering him on where I’m from.
“It’s great to see that he won a bronze in the 1,500 in Athens. I then got to know him through training in Cardiff, which was really nice.
“I wanted to go to the Olympics. It was always my goal.”