Seaford swimmer Dominic Polling on record-breaking wins, early mornings and the prospect of Team GB selection
PUBLISHED: 11:56 11 November 2014 | UPDATED: 11:56 11 November 2014
Clive Agran meets Dominic Polling, a swimming sensation from Seaford
Winning a record-breaking 17 cups at the Sussex County Championships burst the trophy cabinet in the family home of teenage swimming sensation Dominic Polling. “We’ve had to scatter them about the house,” explained Clive, Dominic’s father.
Pressure for space was already at a premium even before this remarkable surge of silverware because Clive, a swimming coach, had previously installed a 16-foot pool in the family’s Seaford home to help Dominic fulfil an incredibly demanding training schedule. “It’s a sort of aquatic treadmill,” Clive explained. How much did it cost? “Don’t ask,” was the terse response. With travel expenses, trunks costing close to £200 at more per square inch than a Versace gown, maybe swimming is not quite the budget sport many imagine.
Most days 16-year-old Dominic is up at five and in the water at either the Prince Regent Swimming Complex in Brighton or the pool at Roedean School by six o’clock. Does he mind getting up so early? “I’ve been doing it for four or five years now and have got pretty used to it. And, no, I don’t go to bed early to compensate because I don’t ordinarily get back from swimming until around 9.30 and normally get to bed about 10.30.” Isn’t he always falling asleep? “Yup,” confessed the Seaford Head School pupil, “staying awake can be a problem.” Every week he goes swimming about nine times, spends about 20 hours ploughing up and down and reckons he covers about 40,000 metres.
This dedication has not only brought plenty of individual rewards but has helped Brighton Swimming Club stay afloat at the top of both the Sussex League and Arena League. International honours have followed and Dominic has represented England at both under-16 and under-18 levels in the individual 100 metres breaststroke and has swum in the freestyle and medley relay teams.
Coming third in the national championships has left Dominic on the brink of Team GB. Selection would enable him to enjoy the finest training facilities and receive the very best coaching, both of which would certainly help him achieve his ultimate ambition of participating in the Olympics. “Brazil might be a little too soon for me because I’ll only be 18. Tokyo in 2020 is a more realistic target.”