Ruta Meilutyte‘s future is a bright one. The 16 year old Lithuanian swimmer has already won an Olympic gold, a World Championship title and broken both short course and long course world records.
That success has not deterred Meilutyte from having a very realistic outlook on her athletic future, ““I’m very aware that I’m only one accident away from an injury that might mean the end of my swimming, so I know I need qualifications,” Meilutyte told the Plymouth Herald.
Over the next year Meilutyte will have a strong focus on her studies, “I am taking GCSEs this year and they are really important to me.”
“I don’t particularly like studying or academic work – I’d much rather be doing something in the pool.
“But I know I’ve got to get these exams done.”
Her coach Jon Rudd feels that this is a perfect year for his young pupil to put more emphasis on her academics, “When she gets these exams sorted out, next year she can think in terms of preparing to defend her Olympic title,” Rudd told the Plymouth Herald.
“This year is a good year for her exams, because she hasn’t got an Olympics or World Championships.”
“She’s going to be in the Euros and the World Youth Olympics.”
“We’re going to take them seriously, but we’ve also got to make sure this year she does the best she can in her GCSEs.”
Rudd also pointed out that Meilutyte does not only contend with the difficulties that any student who is training at an elite level does, but she also has the challenge of taking studies in English, which is not her first language, “Everyone’s doing everything they can to give her support.”
“Obviously, she misses quite a few lessons because she’s away doing championships and you have to remember English is Ruta’s second language.”
“She speaks English very well, but with some words or phrases, she gets a puzzled look on her face.”
Meilutyte has been living and training in Plymouth with Rudd for the last four years.