Lancaster Olympian bids to reach Glasgow games

Rob Bale during the Men's 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay Final at the London 2012 Olympics. Picture: Tony Marshall/PA Wire.
Rob Bale during the Men's 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay Final at the London 2012 Olympics. Picture: Tony Marshall/PA Wire.

Lancaster’s London 2012 Olympic swimmer bids to qualify for the Commonwealth Games this weekend.

Rob Bale takes to the same Glasgow pool that will host the games at the British Gas Swimming Championships as he looks to represent England for the second time having been to Delhi, India, in 2010.

Great Britain's Robbie Renwick (top right), Ieuan Lloyd (left), Rob Bale and Ross Davenport (in water) after finishing 6th in the Men's 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay Final at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the fourth day of the London 2012 Olympics. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday July 31, 2012. Photo credit should read: Tony Marshall/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Great Britain's Robbie Renwick (top right), Ieuan Lloyd (left), Rob Bale and Ross Davenport (in water) after finishing 6th in the Men's 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay Final at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the fourth day of the London 2012 Olympics. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday July 31, 2012. Photo credit should read: Tony Marshall/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY

The former Carnforth Otter, who raced for Team GB in the 4x200m freestyle relay in London, competes in both the 100m and 200m freestyle events.

The 23-year-old is based in Stirling for training and admits if he does enough to qualify it will be strange racing against Scottish swimmers he usually counts as allies.

Bale said: “The Commonwealth games is massive, it’s going to be like another home games.

“I’m doing my main event, the 200m, and giving the 100 a bash too.

“I’ve been training up in Stirling for nearly three years and I’ve got mates on the team who are trying to qualify for Scotland so there’ll be a bit of friendly rivalry there.

“It’ll be a strange one because it’s the only competition where we split and race against each other.”

It isn’t simply about achieving qualification for the former Ripley St Thomas pupil however. 
Bale, who has raced out in Texas and Belgium in the early part of 2014, has set up a page on fundraising site Talent Backer in a bid to get much-needed support to cover living and travel costs as well as purchasing the necessary kit for competitions.

Without it, the city swimmer will struggle to stay in Stirling and get proper training in ahead of this summer’s games.

He said: “Over the last couple of months I’ve just been struggling with funding.

“All the funding has been pretty much pulled from the swimming programme in Stirling and with living costs, travel costs and everything else it’s hard to cover myself.

“If I’m going to carry on training until the games I’m going to need financial support.

“You have to wear a certain type of kit and the shorts can cost between £100 and £200.

“I don’t think people realise what an expensive sport swimming is.

“There’s even the supplements and eating healthily costs a lot too.

“I’m not just relying on this, I’m exploring other options, but it would be a huge help.”

All this comes from a swimmer who admits he nearly walked away from the sport after his home Olympics.

Bale said: “I took a bit of time out at the back end of 2012 to get my head together.

“I thought I was on my way out of the sport but after a couple of months I started to get that fire back.

“I think I just needed a bit of down time. I started training again in the April (2013) and since then I’ve been working towards the summer.”

You can support Rob by visiting www.talentbacker.com/talents/view/rob-bale

At the British Championships he is set to line up in the 200m freestyle final on Friday with the 100m semi-finals on Saturday and the final on Sunday.

The event will be streamed live at www.swimming.org/britishswimming with live coverage on Sky Sports starting from Sunday night.