Tom Chambers is hoping to not only organise and run the 2016 European Swimming Championships – but also take part.
The Lothians man has been appointed chief executive for next year’s LEN European Swimming Championships in London – a mammoth project that will test his business acumen to the limit – but he also harbours aspirations of getting in the pool himself to prove he hasn’t lost his appetite for intense competition either.
The 45-year-old, who resides in Dalkeith, will hope to qualify for the European Masters Championships that immediately follow the main event at the Aquatics Centre and which pitches veteran swimmers against one another.
A keen 200 metres breaststroke swimmer from his childhood, Chambers, pictured below, spoke of his new role and his chances of qualifying, saying: “The opportunity for this job came off the back of a very successful Commonwealth Games and being passionate about sport. And the fact I was a swimmer from the age of eight until I was 21, to get a chance to be involved the first major Championships at the Aquatics Centre since the Olympics, is a really good opportunity for me.
“But it’s also the first time the Masters will be held right after the elite competition, so we’ll have two events.
“I am considering getting back into the pool and seeing if I am fit enough to qualify. I’ve got a year or so to do so, and I’ll have to qualify through a registered meet. It’s just the opportunity it creates. We’re hoping there will be more than 4000 athletes across the two events within the three disciplines of swimming, diving and synchronised swimming.”
After a major role as general manager Within Sport Operation for last year’s hugely-successful Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Chambers has been placed in charge of one of world swimming’s biggest events in May 2016, but he will continue to live north of the Border.
“The team of British Swimming have done a huge amount of work already,” he said. “We had a visit from LEN, the European Federation two weeks ago, which went very well, so it’s been so far so good.
“The 2018 European Championships will also be in Glasgow with the diving and synchronised swimming to be in Edinburgh. It’s a unique position that British Swimming have achieved by getting back-to-back European Championships, so hopefully they’ll make a great success of that job too.”
Originally from Bo’ness, Chambers is no stranger to the city’s Royal Commonwealth Pool having completed many a length at national competitions.
“It wasn’t my favourite pool if I’m honest,” he said. “It was one of those pools that seemed to get the better of me when I was racing in Scottish Championships. It was freezing cold but it’s got a lot warmer since!”
With such unprecedented success from Team Scotland in the pool last summer, Chambers is expecting stars such as Dan Wallace and Ross Murdoch to be in the reckoning for medals come May next year.
“They’ll certainly be there and pushing along with everyone else. My job is to create the best environment for them at that meet,” he added.