Todd Cooper made his Scottish swimming debut at the first ever Commonwealth Youth Games, held in Edinburgh in 2000.
The Stirling University graduate went on to compete and win medals in two Commonwealth Games and two Olympic Games, and today he uses that wealth of experience in his role as a Sports Competition Cluster Manger with the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee.
We chatted to Todd about his swimming career and why he can’t wait for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games next summer.
What first got you interested in swimming?
Watching the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games opened my eyes to the world of sport, and from that point forward I was hooked. Soon after, I made it my goal to be an Olympian.
What is the hardest thing you have overcome?
Severe injury. In 2005 I damaged my lower back and thought that my swimming career was over.
Professional sport has huge ups and downs, and the highs can be incredibly high and the lows incredibly low. Dealing with injury is the most frustrating experience for any athlete, particularly if it is over an extended period of time.
Who is your sporting hero?
A few names spring to mind, but one shines out amongst all others – Michael Phelps. He changed the swimming landscape and redefined what could be achieved.
Generally speaking, I have the most respect for athletes who can hold their nerve and produce a performance in the face of huge pressure, when it matters most.
What made you want to get involved in Glasgow 2014?
Spending the greater part of my life in Scotland and involved in sport, I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do more when I retired from swimming. To be involved in any major multi-sport Games is fantastic. To be involved in a home Games is something exceptional.
What can those with Swimming tickets for Glasgow 2014 look forward to?
Being a top level international swimmer requires incredible speed, rhythm, technique, ability, huge dedication and strength of character. It’s only when you see swimmers live, in front of your face, that you realise they are amongst the fittest and most impressive athletes on the planet.
Apart from Swimming, what sport would you most like to see at Glasgow 2014 and why?
I think all of the sports at the Games will be fascinating and exciting to watch in their own ways. Rugby Sevens is always a great day out. Cycling at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome will be a great spectacle. Squash and Table Tennis are great demonstrations of agility, speed and reactions, and Shooting requires great concentration. I would happily watch all of them!
There are still exciting opportunities to experience world-class live sports action at Glasgow 2014. Find out more about tickets.