WILLMOTT Aimee < Back  
Sport Swimming
CGA England   
Gender Women
Born 26 Feb 1993 in Middlesbrough, ENG
Height1.71 m
Human Interest
Further Personal Information
Family Partner Harry
Residence Middlesbrough, ENG
Occupation Athlete, Business Owner, Coach
Languages English
Higher education Exercise Science, Sport Studies - University of East London: England
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport? Her parents taught her to swim at age five at her local pool in Middlesbrough, England. She then joined Middlesbrough Swimming Club and took up the sport competitively at age nine and won her first national age-group medal at age 11.
Why this sport? She and her sister were encouraged to take up swimming by their father Stuart.
Club / Team University of Stirling Swimming Club: Scotland
Name of coach Steve Tigg [club]; Bradley Hay [club]
International Debut
Year 2008
Competing for Great Britain
General Interest
Hobbies Coffee, baking, cooking. (Facebook page, 27 Jan 2020; lovemiddlesbrough.co.uk, 08 Mar 2019)
Memorable sporting achievement Winning gold in the 400m individual medley at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, QLD, Australia. (thenorthernecho.co.uk, 17 Jul 2019)
Hero / Idol Hungarian swimmer Krisztina Egerszegi, US swimmer Michael Phelps, British swimmers Rebecca Adlington, Joanne Jackson and Hannah Miley. (Simply Swim Youtube channel, 20 Oct 2018; swimming.org, 23 Mar 2012; olympics.org.uk, 19 Jul 2010)
Injuries A knee injury forced her to withdraw from the 2017 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. She underwent keyhole surgery in June 2017 to investigate the cause of the injury. (bbc.co.uk, 22 Jun 2017; bournemouthecho.co.uk, 22 Jun 2017)

In 2017 she suffered a compression fracture to her spine and two broken ribs when she slipped and fell on a boat. (gazettelive.co.uk, 12 Apr 2018; theguardian.com, 05 Apr 2018)
Sporting philosophy / motto "Train hard if you want to reach the top. If you don't, you won't achieve. Don't get too nervous before a swim, it's just another swim." (swimming.org, 30 Apr 2014)
Awards and honours In 2010 and 2016 she was named Sportsperson of the Year by the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette newspaper in England. (gazettelive.co.uk, 25 Oct 2016)

She was named the 2015 British Universities and Colleges Sport [BUCS] Sportswoman of the Year. (swimswam.com, 15 Nov 2015)
Famous relatives Her father Stuart competed in the 400m individual medley and the 1500m freestyle at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Her sister competed in swimming at national level. (willmottswimskills.co.uk, 01 May 2018; SportsDeskOnline, 11 Aug 2018; swimming.org, 23 Mar 2012)
Ambitions To compete at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. (thenorthernecho.co.uk, 17 Jul 2019)
Other information ONE MORE GAMES
She was planning on retiring from competitive swimming after the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and had some difficult decisions to make once the Games were postponed for a year. After much consideration she decided to continue to aim to compete at the Games a year later. "Once I'd made the decision to carry on it was strange at first. I was thinking I shouldn't really be here now, I should be at the next step whatever that might look like but I'm still doing what I was doing before. So ISL [International Swimming League] was really good for me to just get away and race and have some down time but off the back of that I struggled, right what is next? Is it the Olympics? All of a sudden at that point we were going backwards as a country so I was like, have I carried on for it all to happen all over again? I was just praying that it didn't." (swimmingworldmagazine.com, 13 Apr 2021)

FUNDING CUT
Five months after winning a gold medal in the 400m individual medley at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, QLD, Australia, she was not included in British Swimming's 2018/19 World Class Performance Programme, which meant her lottery funding from UK Sport was also cut. “It was a hard thing to get my head around at first, but I've put it behind me and got on with things. It's been tough. But when you're involved in a sport like swimming, you probably always have at the back of your mind that something like this could happen. So you try to save a bit of your funding through the years so you've got a bit of a safety cushion. Thankfully, I did that, so I had a few reserves I could use to help me get through. I had enough to just about cover my rent, so after that, it was really just a case of scraping together enough to live on. I've done a bit of work for Funkita [a swimwear company], and I've also been doing a bit of coaching and running a few swimming workshops. Luckily, I haven't had to go and get a job that's completely detached from swimming. That would have been much more difficult. Everything I've done has tied in pretty nicely with my training.” (thenorthernecho.co.uk, 17 Jul 2019)

CHANGE IN PERSPECTIVE
She believes she spent the early part of her international swimming career demanding an extremely high level of performance from herself, However, as her career has progressed she feels she has come to appreciate life outside swimming more deeply. "I guess you could say I've mellowed. I'm still as competitive as ever, and I still want to win things and achieve PBs, but the last year [2018/19] has probably shown me more than ever that there's a life out there beyond my swimming. I'm extremely proud of what I've done, and I wouldn't really want to change anything, but I maybe look back a bit now and think, 'Why were you so hard on yourself?' I finished ninth at my first world championships, and was absolutely devastated at missing out on the final by a place. I didn't even want to think about that experience for years, but I look back now and think, 'Why didn't you enjoy it more? You did really well'.” (thenorthernecho.co.uk, 17 Jul 2019)

COACHING
In 2018 she founded the Willmott Swim Skills school with her father to train swimmers of all levels. "From my success over the years I've had the opportunity to train with different programmes, work with different high-level coaches and doing so I have learnt lots about the sport I love along the way. Now it's my time to give back and share my love and passion for the sport through Willmott Swim Skills." (Facebook page 2, 27 Apr 2021; 08 Mar 2019; willmottswimskills.co.uk, 01 May 2018)

SPORTS SCIENCE
She studied sports science at university and wrote an academic paper on the effect clothing worn between a warm-up and competition can hav