Athletes often talk about major competitions being the pinnacle of their sporting career but Max Litchfield claims the 2014 Commonwealth Games changed him as a person.
The swimmer is on track to make his Olympic bow this summer and should that happen,he claims it is the experience he gained in Glasgow two years ago that will stand him in good stead.
Litchfield had a busy time of it at Glasgow 2014, competing in the men’s 1500m freestyle, 400m individual medley and 4x200m freestyle relay – coming agonisingly close to a medal in the latter as part of the Team England quartet that finished fourth.
Aged just 19 at those Commonwealths, the Pontefract-born swimmer – who turns 21 later on Friday – insists that being part of a huge, multi-sport Games ensured he grew up fast.
And with the Rio 2016 Olympic Games looming just five months from now, he admits he is desperate to experience that sort of environment once again.
“I was lucky enough to go to the Commonwealth Games two years ago and the Olympics is the next target,” said Litchfield.
“Going to the Commonwealths definitely prepared me if I do make it to Rio. It was great to get that experience of a multi-sport Games and it showed me what an Olympics would be like.
“There is plenty I could take away from the experience and it was a big learning curve for me.
“I came back from Glasgow a different athlete and a different person, I was definitely a lot more mature.
“I’m looking to put what I’ve learned into action in the future and hopefully at the Olympics in Rio.”
Everything is now building towards the British Swimming Championships in April, coincidentally also taking place in Glasgow, which double as trials for Olympic selection.
Litchfield will ensure his preparation is right for that competition and his current race form certainly offers plenty of encouragement.
The 20-year-old won three gold medals at the BUCS Nationals in Sheffield last month – the UK’s largest annual multi-sport event – triumphing in the 200m IM, 400m IM and 400m freestyle.
That was one better than his 2015 effort at the Championships when he clinched two golds and one silver and Litchfield says he is now fully focused on fulfilling a childhood dream.
“I’m definitely on track for the Olympics. I’m really happy with the way I have been training and racing and it bodes well for me for the rest of the season,” he added.
“It would mean the world to me if I could make it to the Olympics. Ever since I was young I dreamed of representing my country at the Olympic Games.”