Commonwealth Games medal memories with Jack Thorpe
As we look ahead to Birmingham 2022 we spoke to Sport and Business Management and PgDip Performance Psychology graduate and Commonwealth Games Medallist, Jack Thorpe
Name: Jack Thorpe
Degree: BSc Sport and Business Management (2019), PgDip Performance Psychology (2022)
Sport: Swimming (Freestyle)
Jack Thorpe is a two time Commonwealth Games athlete. Finishing 4th as part of the 4x100m Freestyle Relay team, in his debut games, at Glasgow 2014, Jack went one better at Gold Coast 18, securing Bronze in the same event. He also reached the semi-finals in both the 50m and 100m Freestyle events.
Jack was also a serial winner on the domestic swimming scene, with 28 Scottish National Championship wins (2014 - 2020), 8 British National medal wins (2015 - 2021) and 15 British University Championships wins (2013 - 2021). He is also a two time Scottish National record holder (2014 - 2020).
During his University swimming career Jack earned selection for the World University Games (2017), was award University Blues in 2019 and won the Vancouver Quaich for Male Athlete of the Year in 20/21.
We spoke to Jack about his memories of studying and competing at University and his fantastic bronze medal win as part of the 4x100m Freestyle Relay team at Gold Coast 2018.
Q. How did you get started in the pool?
I started swimming very young, my mum had me in the water at a few months old. I took to swimming naturally and progressed through council run lessons before joining my local club (Milngavie and Bearsden ASC) at 8 years old. I was very much a slow burner, not demonstrating any long-term potential in the sport until my late teens. I started in long distance swimming (1500m) right up until 16, where I transitioned to sprint events (50m & 100m freestyle), at which point I started to improve rapidly. My sprint performance from 16-18 years old paved the way to my transition into The University of Edinburgh.
Q. Could you tell us about any special memories of the games you’ve attended and your medal win?
My first games were Glasgow 2014, where we broke the Scottish Record in the 4x100m freestyle in front of a home crowd. We came 4th overall, tantalisingly close to the medals. It would be another 4 years for redemption, culminating in a historic 3rd place finish at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. This was a very special moment as we broke the Scottish Record (set in Glasgow 2014), while coming home with a medal. The journey from 2014-2018 was both defining as an athlete as well as a person. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the opportunities afforded by The University of Edinburgh, across a long a successful, sporting and academic, career.
Q. What is your fondest memory of studying at Edinburgh?
The city. Its such an incredible setting to be day after day. Rain or shine, Edinburgh has a character I’ve not experienced anywhere else. The old meets the new, the history, the unique architecture, all on the edge of Arthur’s seat and Holyrood park. Having such an incredible setting made me enjoy going to classes, even when I didn’t want to.
Q. What is your fondest memory of sport at Edinburgh?
The team. There’s nothing quite like the team culture at Edinburgh; both within swimming and performance sport as a whole. That culture transcended across my racing experiences, particularly at the British Universities and College Sport (BUCS) events. It was always in Sheffield for swimming, heading there 2 or 3 times a year as a team. I have such great memories of the racing, the relays, the team. The united drive to perform and compete as both and individual as a collective is what I miss most about the sport.
Any advice you would share for those going to the Birmingham Games?
Embrace the experience and all it has to offer. You can be the most prepared and self-assured person, but there will always be an element of unpredictability. Approach with confidence and assure yourself you’re ready and capable, for the good, the bad and the unpredictable.