James Goddard’s life changed the day he swam alongside a future Olympian. He set his goals higher, focused his efforts, and became determined to follow in his training partner’s footsteps. Just a few years later, James was representing Great Britain at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
For members of the WAB TigerSharks swim team with dreams to compete on the world stage one day, Thursday might be the moment they remember changing it all.
James came to campus on Thursday afternoon to talk with our student-athletes and their parents, share his story, and coach a swim practice in the WAB Aquatics Center.
“Apart from the obvious sport-specific skills that such athletes possess, I believe it is important that students realize that extraordinary accomplishments are achieved by everyday people,” Donald Watson-Brown, WAB’s Head of Aquatics, said. “Interacting with an athlete like James allows students to appreciate that the journey to success in any field starts on a path not dissimilar to where they are now.”
During his visit, James talked about his career journey and invited students to wear his Team Great Britain and several of his medals. Afterwards, in the pool, James led reaction drills and fine-tuned the young WAB swimmers on several technical skills.
“WAB provides many instances on a daily basis of engaging students with great learning opportunities combined with resources that prepare them through a ‘learn through doing’ philosophy,” Coach Watson-Brown said. “No matter what field or endeavor a student is engaged in, stories of success across any field have similar key themes and topics.”
At the end of his conversation with students and parents, James referred back to the beginning of his story – gaining inspiration from swimming with Olympian Graham Smith, a man who eventually became his training partner.
“The most important advice I can give you is that you have to be a great teammate, and you have to be a great friend,” James told the students. “We’re all humans, and we all have bad days. In those times where you’re tired and you don’t want to be there, good mates make you, inspire you to get there. And you’ll have more fun.”
Explore how WAB connects its students with inspirational people like Olympian James Goddard.