Wynter hoping to get faster and stronger for Rio
When the Jamaica Olympic team list was released on Monday it consisted of 32 female and 27 male athletes, one gymnast, one diver and two swimmers.
But while the nation is well aware of local swimming icon, Alia Atkinson, and expected her participation at the Games next month, not many outside of the swimming fraternity know who Timothy Wynter is.
The 20 year-old who met the Olympic 'B' qualifying standard in the 100m backstroke just a few weeks ago, still had to wait until the selection process was completed to be permitted to participate at the Games.
"I am happy and excited to have qualified for the Jamaica Olympic team, qualifying for the Olympic has been a goal of mine for the past four years, so I am excited because I will get the opportunity to race with the best in the world. I wasn't confident (of being selected) because there is a qualification process, A and B times. A is automatic, so if I had got one of the A times I would have been more confident, but I'm happy to be selected," he told STAR Sports in a telephone linkup from his training camp in Florida.
The Southern California University student who at one stage held all local backstroke records, made the qualifying standard for the Olympics at the recent Caribbean Island Swimming Championships (CISC) in Bahamas at the end of June. However, since the start of the year he had slowly lowered his times in the 100 metres backstroke closer to the qualifying mark and he was over the moon when he finally got there
"In Bermuda (a few weeks earlier) I got 56.90, which was a PB (personal best) up to that time but I knew I could go faster. At the end of June I got down to 56.28 and the qualifying time is 56.26 so I was happy with that time. Then a week later at the CISC I qualified (with 56.15) and I was elated," he said..
Wynter admitted that awaiting his selection was a nervy and frustrating process but since being named he has returned to Florida to continue training and being in the same club (South Florida Aquatics) and under the same coach as Jamaica's most successful swimmer, Alia Atkinson, has been a great motivation for the young swim star.
"After Bahamas I went back to Florida and train with Alia, then I was in Jamaica for a few days. Now I'm back in Los Angeles with my coach and my team and in training camp with Alia and coach Chris Anderson. But I have had the opportunity to train with Alia all year. We focus on different events but Chris is great coach and he has helped us with the different events. But Alia has helped me with is the mental side of sports and swimming," he revealed.
No great expectations
Wynter now joins a select group of Jamaican swimmers who will grace the Olympics but he has placed no great expectations on himself and his main goal at the Olympic Games in Rio this summer is to get a personal best time.
"I feel good in the water but I know I can develop more as a swimmer, I know I can get stronger and faster but it's still a work in progress but I am happy with where I am. My only goal for the Games is a personal best time or do the best I can do in the situation and to just represent my friends, family and country to the best of my ability," he said.