SWIMMING: LEE Forster is aiming to mark his graduation to the Great Britain High Performance Centre by swimming in this summer's Olympics.

The Alsager ace, 20, who now lives and trains in Bath, has seen his swimming career take off after progressing from Alsager Bridgestone Swimming Club.

He explained: 'I joined Alsager Bridgestone SC when I was about eight but started with swimming lessons way before that.

'I moved to Satellite SC in Maccles-field in the May of 1999 and began training around nine to 11 hours a week, which was a big increase, and then I qualified for the National Age Group Championships in August 1999.'

His rapid rise to success forced Forster to look at swimming more seriously and played a major part in his decision to study at Bath University, where he now trains.

'There are excellent facilities at Bath and I am now taking a year out to fully concentrate on swimming in preparation for the Olympic Trials later this month. I train at the Great Britain High Performance Centre and have world-class staff around me to support me in all areas.

'When I left school and Alsager for pastures new down in the West Country, things really began to take off for me in terms of swimming. I progressed from making national events to making national finals and even winning national medals.

'I have now competed at British Trials for two World Championships and one Olympics and although I wasn't able to make the British team, I think that had a lot to do with my age, especially when I was competing with experienced men.'

His success has come about through dedication to hard work and plenty of early-morning lengths.

'I do a grand total of 10 swimming sessions, accounting for between 20 to 30 hours and 50,000 to 90,000 metres per week.

'My programme also includes three gym sessions which are used for strength and power conditioning, taking up around six hours per week.

'Finally, I do a stretching circuit for around half-an-hour after every swimming session!'

Forster has had to make many sacrifices in an attempt to realise his potential as a top competitor.

He has been supported along the way by family and friends who have helped boost his confidence and focus his thoughts on improving his standard.

Despite any pressures that may be put upon him, Forster has remained level-headed and is all too aware that while he has lofty ambitions in swimming, there is more to life than his sporting goals.

'Obviously my personal and ultimate goal is to compete at the Olympics, but as long as I know that I have given swimming my best shot and have no regrets, then I will be happy.'