Thursday, May 31, 2018

Year of Young People 2018: Cameron Brodie

Each month in 2018, to celebrate the Year of Young People in conjunction with the Scottish Government and Young Scot, Scottish Swimming is profiling an outstanding athlete or volunteer from the world of aquatics. Last month it was Water Polo starlet Dominque Zahra (read his interview here), and before that we spoke to diver Lucas Thomson. Para-swimmer and swim teacher Kayleigh Haggo, was our first featured athlete and you can watch her video here.

Cameron Brodie stays standing at the end of his 15-minute presentation, raises his hand to thank those that are clapping and thinks about his journey.

He’s went from a swimmer who reached the finals of the Commonwealth Games to a new role as the Swimming Coordinator at the University of Stirling, and here he is having delivering an impassioned speech on swimming’s power and what the sport has given him, to a room of around 70 delegates from Scottish Swimming’s Learn to Swim National Framework. From a Governing Body point of view, this is how it’s all supposed to come together.

Cameron, 25, doesn’t often think of himself as a “young person” but he fits into the Year of Young People campaign seamlessly. Not only is he in the age-range of eight to 26 that the project seeks to highlight, he has a rich enthusiasm that shines through and perfectly demonstrates the potential of ambitious young adults. And even during his swimming career he was thinking about how he could help the next crop – after Glasgow 2014, Cameron came on board with Scottish Swimming as a Technical Consultant, delivering masterclasses to younger swimmers.

Cameron was born in Inverurie but spent many hours of his childhood swimming with Mount Kelly Swimming Club in Devon, England. He has vivid memories of learning to swim but little did the young boy at the time know that, by the age of 17, he’d be competing for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Cameron recalls swimming alongside “heroes” like Robbie Renwick and David Carry, and being part of the silver medal-winning relay team in Delhi (Cameron swam the heats). But even that would struggle to compare with the carnival that was Glasgow 2014, a meet that Cameron went into as Scotland’s top butterfly swimmer. He reached the final of the 200m butterfly and came fourth, narrowly missing out on an individual medal (by a miniscule 0.15seconds no less).

In reliving that moment during his speech, Cameron is calm and composed, but one can only think at the time he was at least downhearted, if not worse. But that positive attitude kicked in soon enough that’s for sure, because he’d swam as fast as possible, faster than in the heats. And in the heats he’d even managed to touch home before the legendary Chad Le Clos.

The evidence of that positive mindset is clear: the next day Cameron was part of the Scottish 4x200m freestyle relay team that collected a silver medal in front of their home fans.

To reach this top level you need a supreme amount of knowhow of your chosen sport. Cameron chose to put this knowledge to good use. By 2015 he’d completed a BA in Sports Studies, and following that he undertook a Masters Degree in Sports Management, in conjunction with his advisory role with Scottish Swimming. Not to mention of course that he still swam competitively right up until last year!

To do all of that, you need commitment. To do all of that to a high standard, you need expertise. In his speech to the Learn to Swim delegates, Cameron explicitly mentions the power of this knowledge and how he utilises it in his role as a Swimming Coordinator. And, how he hopes to use his experience to inspire not just the youngsters who are starting out, but also swimmers and athletes in the same transitional situation as him, and those in a position to employ them.

He said: “Ex Swimmers have a brilliant understanding of swimming. We know the fundamentals. With that in mind it’s not all about the big kids who can bash their way across a width, but rather the ones who are smaller and maybe take a little longer to get across but do it with total concentration.

“That’s what Duncan Scott was like. And when I’m doing some teaching, I’m incredibly excited by what I see in my lessons. I see kids who love to be in the water, and that’s the main thing.”