Luke Greenbank broke onto the scene after winning gold and bronze at last year’s Youth Olympic Games and since then he has continued his progress. He travelled to Baku for the European Games and started his campaign with gold in the 100m Backstroke and then secured not only the gold in the 200m Backstroke but also the world junior record. Here he shares the experience in Baku.
The first few days in Baku were spent mainly getting used to the environment. We arrived at about 8pm on Thursday night and had a little introduction to where everything in the village was, took a quick trip to the food hall where there was a wide variety of food from all over the world to choose from), and then went back to our apartment and unpacked. Then the next few days were spent traveling to and from the pool, doing a few sessions and getting ready to race.
I think it first sunk in that we were in an Olympic environment when we got to the village, as there were lots of athletes from all over the world and from lots of different sports. We then got our introduction to Team GB HQ where they told us about the Games and the village, which made it seem a bit more real.
My favourite part of the village was probably the food hall, as there was so much food to choose from! It was quite difficult at times not to eat too much, but you have to remember that you still have to race, and you need to make sure you prepare yourself as well as you can.
I was really happy with all my races out in Baku, I started off well with a PB in the heats and semis of my 100 back which gave me a little bit of confidence for the final. Although I knew I wasn’t certain to win, I didn’t think the finish would be as close as it was.
The 200 back was also a really good swim, I knew from my heat and semi swims that I was swimming well which, again, gave me a lot of confidence. I knew going into the final that the world junior record wasn’t out of reach but when I saw the time, I was a little surprised, but at the same time over the moon.
Hearing the national anthem made me very proud, but also made me feel like I had achieved something for the swimming team, and Team GB as well as myself. I hope I made people feel proud.
The closing ceremony was brilliant, all the athletes left in the village turned up and we all walked into the stadium in our teams. As we walked in there was music playing and fireworks going off, we got to our seats and waited for the rest of the athletes to come in. Once all the athletes were in then the acts started (which were all very impressive) and at the end all the athletes were invited to the middle of the stadium to watch Clean Bandit and John Newman perform.
Thanks for all of your support while we were competing. It meant a lot to all of us.