GEORGIA Coates admitted she had loved every minute of her Olympic Games debut in Rio, vowing to make the outing the first of many at that level.
City of Leeds swimmer Coates has twice previously competed for Team GB – at the 2013 European Youth Olympic Festival in the Netherlands and then last year’s inaugural European Games in Baku where she picked up four medals – but this was another big step up for the 17-year-old in the Olympic Aquatics Centre in Brazil.
But far from being overawed in the 200m freestyle, Team GB’s youngest swimming representative in Rio finished a respectable fifth in her heat yesterday.
The time of 1:59.33 minutes was outside her personal best but she was the quickest Brit overall, edging out Commonwealth Games relay bronze medallist Eleanor Faulkner for that honour.
And with the crowd full of excitement with the likes of multiple Olympic champions Katie Ledecky and Michael Phelps also in action during the first session of the day, Coates made sure to soak up the whole atmosphere.
“It was just amazing walking out to that, I’ve never done anything like that before,” said Coates. “I put a bit on my time but just to go out there and do a solid swim in my first Olympic Games, I’m so happy.
“The stadium is just amazing, everyone is watching you. It’s not daunting. It just drives you on.
“It is a bit scarier than other times when you swim but it’s so good and really exciting.
“This is just the start of hopefully my future in swimming. Just to go out there was such a good experience and one that will stay with me for a long time.”
Luckily for Coates that is not the end of her adventure in Rio either with the 4x200m freestyle relay heats to come tomorrow.
And the Leeds swimmer admitted she couldn’t help but be swept along by the current feel good factor in the camp.
“It boosts you so much seeing all your teammates do so well and I was so happy for Adam [Peaty] and Jazz [Carlin],” she added. I think it just makes the atmosphere so much better in the team.”
Aldi is the first Official Supermarket partner of Team GB and has been championing our nation’s extraordinary athletes on their Road to Rio and encouraging the public to tuck into fresh, affordable, Great British food. For more information visit aldi.co.uk