London 2012: Chris Walker-Hebborn is determined to make most of second chance

MAKING A SPLASH: Chris Walker-Hebborn
MAKING A SPLASH: Chris Walker-Hebborn

MANY believe that opportunity only knocks once but for Chris Walker Hebborn, London 2012 has proven that is not always the case as he aims to fulfil his dreams.

The 21-year-old from Bury St Edmunds is preparing for his first Olympic appearance this summer and will be aiming for glory in the pool in not only the 100m backstroke event starting on Sunday (11.13am) but also the 200m backstroke class on Wednesday (10.20am).

However, the Team Ipswich swimmer almost faced the prospect of watching the Games from the sidelines after initially missing out on qualification at the British Championships in the Olympic Aquatic Centre at Stratford back in March.

Thankfully for Walker-Hebborn, the old adage did not come to fruition as he was gifted a second shot at the ASA National Championships last month in Sheffield, which he thankfully took to clinch not only one shot at Olympic glory, but the unique opportunity of two.

“The excitement of the Games is certainly building now for me now and I cant wait to step out representing the country,” he said.

“I was buzzing to have qualified for one event after missing out initially, so to have two is pretty unbelievable.

“I am definitely looking forward to it now and I feel lucky to have two events to compete in, because it is quite a special opportunity.

“To be going to the Olympics is pretty surreal, it is the pinnacle for any athlete and for me is a dream come true.”

<PANEL ONE>

FACTFILE

Date of birth: 01/07/1990

From: Bury St Edmunds

Events: Men’s 100m backstroke, men’s 200m backstroke, men’s 4x100m medley relay

Olympic past: First Olympic Games

Crowning glory: Former men’s 200m backstroke British record holder (1min 56.05secs, July 2009)

<PANEL TWO>

SCHEDULE

Sunday, July 29

Men’s 100m backstroke heats (11.13am)

Men’s 100m backstroke semi-finals (8.25pm)

Monday, July 30

Men’s 100m backstroke final (7.56pm)

Wednesday, August 1

Men’s 200m backstroke heats (10.20am)

Men’s 200m backstroke semi-finals (7.47pm)

Thursday, August 2

Men’s 200m backstroke final (7.46pm)

Friday, August 3

Men’s 4x100m medley relay heats (12.04pm)

Saturday, August 4

Men’s 4x100m medley relay final (8.27pm)

<PANEL THREE>

MEDAL CHANCES

Potential finalist. Needs to rediscover form of 2009 to stand a chance of medal.

REALISTIC AMBITION

Reach the final of 200m backstroke and 4x100m medley relay

MAIN RIVALS

Men’s 100m backstroke: Team GB colleague and double world champion Liam Tancock.

Men’s 200m backstroke: Reigning world champion and six-time Olympic gold medallist Ryan Lochte (USA).

Men’s 4x100m medley relay: World champions USA boast swimming legend Michael Phelps among their ranks.