The talented hotbed that is British breaststroking includes the likes of 100m world record holder and double World Champion Adam Peaty, as well 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medalist and recent 200m breaststroke European Champion Ross Murdoch. However, we can look back to 2012 to see the originator of the British breaststroke invasion in Michael Jamieson’s silver medal-winning performance in the 200m breaststroke at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Just 23 years of age at the time, Jamieson rocked the swim of a lifetime with his mark of 2:07.43, becoming the first British male swimmer to medal at an Olympics since 2004. Immediately after performing in front of a home crowd and securing his hardware in London, Jamieson described the experience as, “It was everything I hoped it would be – the crowd bringing me down the final 50m was the greatest experience of my life.”
However, the University of Bath swimmer has fallen on harder times as of late, failing to make his nation’s 2015 World Championships team, as well as being outperformed for a spot on GBR’s 2016 Olympic roster. The man who raced his way to the runner-up spot on the podium in the 200m breaststroke in London found himself finishing 5th and 7th in the 100m and 200m breaststroke races, respectively, at the British Trials last month. His 200m breaststroke time of 2:10.55 there was well off his 2012 podium-placing performance.
In fact immediately after his races in Glasgow at Trials, Jamieson told the press, “The last couple of years have been horrible but I wasn’t even in it.” Alluding to a potential retirement, he continued, “I don’t know if it’s there any more … I don’t know. That could be it, I think.”
But now after a few weeks’ reflection, Jamieson is second-guessing stepping away permanently from the pool. Speaking with the BBC, Jamieson commented, “I think it’s wise to take a little bit of a break just now.”
“I’m still doing some training and staying in shape but I think taking a step away from it leading into the Games is important because I’ve never really done that. “I’m enjoying having some goals outside of the pool for now.”
After being asked if he has made a retirement decision, Jamieson responded, “Not at all. It would be silly to make any rash decisions. There’s a lot of people involved in a decision like that and I look to them for advice to make any plan going forward.”
“I’m just trying to take a bit of pressure and stress off it, and relax and enjoy things a bit more.”
Speaking of the roster that did headline the European Championships last week, Jamieson stated, “I’m really happy for the guys getting on the podium but of course I’d like to be there. A lot of that is down to my training history as a youngster coming through the ranks as I’ve been training as a full-time athlete since I was 13 so I started very, very young.”
“I think that’s taken a couple of years off the other end but no regrets as I’ve had a fantastic career until now and a little break to refresh things and then we’ll take it from there.”
For now, Jamieson’s temporary departure from the competitive pool isn’t exactly a break from physical activity. He is already preparing for his first ever triathlon, which is taking place next month. Jamieson will be competing in the Blenheim Palace Triathlon with the aim of raising money for Bloodwise, the blood cancer charity for whom the Scot’s former training partner, Lewis Coleman, is Sports Ambassador.
Lewis, who trained with Jamieson at Bath last year, lost his mother Mags Coleman to acute lymphoblastic leukemia in the fall of 2015.
According to Charity Today, the Bloodwise Blenheim Palace Triathlon is the second largest triathlon in the UK and triathletes raised £450,000 last year for the charity.