GEORGIA Coates picked up her Team GB Kit for this summer’s Olympic Games and declared that Yorkshire swimming was firmly on the map with four of the county’s swimmers heading to Rio.
City Of Leeds Swimming Club star Coates is the youngest member of Team GB’s Olympics-bound swimming squad at 17 years of age and joined by Ellie Faulkner, Max Litchfield and Aimee Willmott who will also represent the White Rose.
Pontefract-born City Of Sheffield ace Litchfield will also take in his first Olympics aged 21 and is joined by club-mate Ellie Faulkner who heads to her second Games aged 23.
The Yorkshire quartet is completed by Middlesbrough-born Amy Willmott who, like Faulkner, is also 23 and destined for her second Olympics.
The county is used to sending large contingents in both triathlon and diving in particular with five of the six GB triathletes heading to Rio from Leeds and half of the diving team from Yorkshire.
But Coates, Litchfield, Faulkner and Willmott are more than doing their bit too, much to the delight of baby of the group Coates.
Coates beamed: “I think swimming has always been the one that maybe Yorkshire hasn’t been as good at but then we are really bringing through a lot now. I think it’s great. Obviously in Leeds there is always so many divers going to the Olympics so it’s nice to have a swimmer going as well.
“The other Yorkshire swimmers have been great and I know them a bit better because obviously I have raced in counties and things like that with some of them.
“Everybody has been so supportive.
“It is obviously a bit odd because I have never been on a team where I am the youngest before.
“It’s nice. Everyone in the team looks after me.”
Reflecting on the experience of yesterday’s Kitting Out in Birmingham, Coates admitted: “It’s been amazing and it’s really started to make the whole experience feel real now.
“Before it, I was thinking it was ages away but now that we have done this kitting out it’s like ‘oh my God it’s a month away now!’
“I’ve never done anything as big as this before, all this kitting out and getting so much kit. It’s just been amazing.”
Coates will compete in both the 200m freestyle and 4x200m relay in which she will be joined by Faulkner who is also competing in the 200m free. Willmott will take in the 400m individual medley and possibly the 200m butterfly with Litchfield competing in the 400m IM.
Litchfield beamed: “We’ve got some great athletes in Yorkshire and we have obviously got two big cities in Sheffield and Leeds. It’s great to see swimmers finally getting on there. It’s good to be part of the team and part of Yorkshire.”
Wilmott concurred, adding: “It’s nice to have people like Ellie who I always used to race when I was younger and obviously Georgia is a lot younger than me but I have come across her at competitions. It’s nice that we can all make the team and have each other’s back a little bit more.”
Faulkner too, was quick to hail the raiding Yorkshire party, laughing: “There’s quite a few of us obviously. Yorkshire, what can I say, we’re tough. We’ll hopefully bring the best out of ourselves and make Yorkshire proud too.”