UPDATE: Aimee finished 7th in her first Olympic final in the 400 metres Individual Medley and 19th in the 200 metres Butterfly.
She also tweeted: “Thats my racing done at #Rio2016Olympics! Would have liked a faster 200 Fly but it’s a progression on worlds last year! 19th overall.”
Tell us a little bit about your background?
I was born, raised and lived most of my life in Middlesbrough. I went to Ormesby Primary school and then continued on to Nunthrope secondary school and Sixth Form. I swam at Middlesbrough Swimming Club from the ages of 8-21 and then moved to London to train at the London Aquatic Centre Performance Programme after the Commonwealth Games in 2014. This reunited me with former coach at Middlesbrough, Lisa Bates. I am studying a sport and exercise science degree at the University of East London.
Where did your love for swimming come from?
My dad was an Olympic swimmer, representing Team GB at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, so from a young age both my mum and dad taught me to swim. I was like a fish to water – they couldn’t get me out of the pool – so I guess that’s where my love for the sport came from.
And was it an instant love for the sport?
I have loved swimming for as long as I can remember, so yes! Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be an Olympic swimmer. And knowing my dad did it made the goal more achievable as I received a lot of help and support. I loved racing at a very young age as I always wanted to win, so I was always competitive with it. Nothing has changed now, I still beat myself up when I don’t perform as well as I had hoped for.
Do you feel like you missed out on your teen years?
Not at all. I got to travel the world and do so many amazing things that all of my friends didn’t necessarily get the chance to do. So when I look back and think of all of the things I’ve achieved already in my career, it’s not a huge sacrifice when you miss a party or a sleepover.
How did you find the London 2012 Olympic Games?
Completely amazing! London was everything I had hoped for – and more. Swimming in front of a home crowd was something very special and not very many people get to experience it. I was so lucky to say that my first Olympic Games were held in my home country.
And how do you think Rio will be?
I have this image that Rio is going to be the carnival games and I’m really excited to race there. I don’t just want to swim average in Rio, I’d like to do well and prove that I earned my Olympic spot by making it to a final. Once you’re in the final, anything can happen, and that excites me. As they say, you’ve got to be in it to win it. I’ve been training really well and I have a few competitions to get ready for Rio. But ahead of the games, I’m enjoying training more than ever and can’t wait to get to Rio.
How do you find London life?
I love London but I will always be a Boro girl. Middlesbrough is where I started this incredible journey so I am very grateful for that. I don’t get to come home as much as I would like but I’m always busy either training or at University so it’s hard.
What do you get up to when you’re back in the North East?
When I come home I always make sure I’ve got time to visit friends and family as thats what I miss the most about living aways from home. My favourite place to eat out is Alforno’s Italian in Middlesbrough – me and my best friend Emma make it a must when we are both home at the same time.
What do you get up to when you’re not in the pool?
I spend most of my spare time sleeping – if I’m not at university that is! I need as much rest as possible during the week to make sure I am fit and able to train at my best. On a weekend I love to explore what London has
What are your hopes and ambitions ahead of the Olympic Games and for the future?
The first step is Rio, of course. I’ve worked so hard to compete in this competition, so I guess I will worry about everything else once the Games are over.
Follow Aimee on Twitter @aimee_wilmott for updates