Roebuck considered quitting

Four years ago Joe Roebuck’s swimming career was at a crossroads, but having chosen to continue he insists justice has finally been done.


The 26-year-old took 400-metres medley bronze and 200m butterfly silver at the Beijing Olympic trials in 2008 – however his efforts in Sheffield were not good enough to see him earn selection.

Even before taking to the pool in the Steel City, Roebuck anticipated that he might call time on his career if all did not go to plan however he went against his instincts and carried on.

And well before securing a place at this summer’s Olympics in the 200m and 400m medley and 200m butterfly at the British Gas Championships, Roebuck’s determination not to miss out on London was clear.

He made his World Championship debut in Rome in 2009 and claimed European bronze and double Commonwealth silver a year later, before a slight blip on his return to the global stage in 2011.

Still gold in the 200m medley and 200m butterfly at March’s Olympic trials, his first domestic crowns since 2007, proved Roebuck’s decision to prolong his career to London was worth it – and doesn’t he just know it.

"It is really satisfying to have stuck around for four years and come back stronger than I was in 2008 because it was a really big blow to miss out on the Beijing Olympics," said Roebuck.

"What made it even harder was that I had swam well at the trials and attained the qualifying times but I didn’t end up going out to Beijing, which hurt quite a bit.

"I have been with my coach [Ian Armiger] for eight-and-a-half years so it feels good to give it back to him and my parents. I feel like I’ve justified myself and I am really, really elated.

"I did think about quitting. Probably even before I went to the trials in 2008, I thought if I didn’t qualify that I would end it but it left such a bitter taste in my mouth.

"I felt like I wasn’t down and the way I swam I knew I could come back stronger and improve and I think I have steadily done that over the last four years.

"I have made plenty of improvements and achieved far more than I would have done if I had left so it feels good and I am happy with myself for persevering with it."

Roebuck was part of the British team for the last major international swimming event to be held in the UK – the World Short Course Championships in 2008 – however he doesn’t cherish his memories of it.

For it came a matter of days after his Olympic loss and he narrowly missed out on the 200m butterfly final – but with circumstances different this time around Roebuck is determined to relish the occasion.

"The last time I competed in front of a home crowd at a major meet was in 2008 for the world short course and that was right after our trials for the Olympics," he added.

"Obviously I didn’t qualify so I wasn’t really in the best mood to be racing let alone to embrace the event so I am really looking forward to how good these Olympics are going to be."

British Gas supports British Swimming at all levels and is getting the nation to show its support for Britain’s swimmers.

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