British swimming could be set for a new wave in participation numbers following the success of Olympic stars Adam Peaty and Jazz Carlin, claims a Sunderland athlete.
Peaty won gold and Jazz Carlin claimed a silver as Great Britain secured their first medals of the 2016 games on day two in Rio.
Peaty, 21, smashed his own world record to win the 100m breaststroke in 57.13 seconds and end GB’s 28-year wait for a men’s Olympic swimming title.
Minutes later, Carlin won silver in the women’s 400m freestyle.
And Wearside swimmer Jonathan Carlisle, 23, who knows both competitors, said he hopes the success story will bring about a resurgence in the numbers of people taking to the water.
Peaty had a fear of water as a young child but is the first British man to win Olympic swimming gold since Adrian Moorhouse in 1988.
“I know football is our national sport, but more people swim than play football.”Jonathan Carlisle
“I stayed up to watch the races and I just thought it was amazing,” said City of Sunderland swimming club member Jonathan.
“I know Adam, but I know Jazz better and I’ve seen how hard she works so for her to get a silver is well deserved.
“Adrian Moorhouse was the last man to win gold for us and he’s been a commentator for years, which tells you how long it’s been.
“The times he’s posting are just crazy. It’s like Leicester winning the Premier League.”
Jonathan added that he now hopes swimming is put back into the national sporting spotlight.
“I hope it provides a real boost because as a country we got a lot of stick after the 2012 games when there were only three medals won,” said the Southwick swimmer, who took part in Team GB trials for the Olympic games earlier this year and now runs his own swimming club, Swim City.
“But that equalled the best performance we’d had before.
“People were expecting a bit more, but we had a UK Sport funding cut at the time and since then the number of people swimming has dropped right down.
“But after what Adam’s done, he can be the figurehead now.
“I know football is our national sport, but more people swim than play football.
“We’ve got plenty of other medal chances over the next week and I’m confident we can win a few.”