AN ex-Bolton Metro swimmer has booked his place at the hottest sporting ticket in the country this summer – the Commonwealth Games in Scotland.
Ryan Bennett, aged 23, is keeping his fingers crossed he can make it to the finish line for the big tournament which kicks off on July 23.
Bennett has already appeared at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010 but he thinks this event will make up for missing out on a place at the London Olympics by a tenth of a second.
This time he has been snapped up by the Scotland team after living at Stirling University north of the border for the past five years.
Speaking about the call-up, Bennett said: “We had the Scottish and British nationals recently but I missed out on a couple of events.
“I still managed to get into the 4x100m and I had the best time for the 100m butterfly in Scotland.
“There is some good news as I was not picked for the backstroke which is my best event, but because I have already qualified there is a chance they may ask me to do that.
“I have already achieved the qualifying times for those events this year so I am hoping I might make it.
“It is a really exciting time after missing out on qualifying for the Olympics in London and this is something I am really looking forward to.”
Bennett insists it would not have been possible without the hours and hard work training at Metro which put him where he is now.
He said: “I think at that stage of my career Bolton helped me a lot.
“They taught me all the skills about tumbles and turns and trying to perfect my training.
“I was there for seven years between 2002 and 2009 and I was really successful winning 19 national titles.
“Metro helped give me the basics of what I am working on today.
“Each year I was there I made massive progress and they were advocates of hard work.
“It is a great squad and I loved my time there.”
Despite originating in Brinscall and Lancashire, Bennett admits it will not be strange pulling on the national colours and representing Scotland at the Games.
He said: “I have been living here for the past five years and everyone should be able to represent their home nation.
“I see Scotland as where I live now and hopefully I can re-pay their faith in me by trying to win.
“It does not change where I come from and how my family and friends and the likes of the people of Bolton Metro, who have all helped me to get here.”
The student is trying to raise money on the website Talent Backer to raise £4,000 for equipment and travel for the next few months as he pursues Commonwealth glory.If you want to support Ryan log on to www.talent backer.com/talents/view/ryan-bennett.