Mills Barton has Olympic fever after competing on London 2012 waters
ALEX Mills Barton insists he is hungrier than ever to taste the Olympic atmosphere after getting a sneak peak of London 2012 at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta.
ON THE UP: Alex Mills Barton on the water at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Perth back in December
The 20-year-old was helping prepare Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy - the London 2012 venue - for the Games in two months time as he took to the water in his Laser.
And, in the face of the world's best converging on the regatta in a final attempt to fully prepare for their Olympic assault, Mills Barton put in a brave effort, finishing 45th.
He is no stranger to international circles and ended 2011 as the world number two in Laser youth sailing having been crowned European youth champion.
However, at his young age London 2012 has come around far too soon for Mills Barton, although after rubbing shoulders with the world's best he is the first to admit that he is hell-bent on changing all that come 2016.
"Sail for Gold was a great experience," he said. "The thing is with that regatta is, because it is the last one before the Olympics, in the Olympic venue, everyone is on top form.
"So basically anyone who is beating you is probably going to the Olympics and is probably at their best.
"Everyone has been peaking for this event over the last four years, so everyone is at the top of their game and it is hard to race them at this time in the cycle.
"I am on the British development squad at the moment, so hopefully the aim is to get on to the performance squad in the next couple of years and really try to push for 2016.
"But there is a long way to go. It is a hard class and you have just got to keep going and see how far you can get but being in Weymouth makes you want it even more."
Australian world champion Tom Slingsby took gold at the Sail for Gold Regatta to underline his Olympic credentials, while his compatriot Tom Burton took silver.
And with Burton just 22-years-old, Mills Barton admits watching that Aussie in particular climb the podium has left him believing that anything is possible.
"It was great to watch all the top guys and it really inspires you," he added. "Some of those guys are only a year or so older than me so it is amazing how good they are really.
"And it has only been the last year or so that they have really made that big step so hopefully I can keep pushing through and hopefully push to the next level."
Investment specialist Skandia is the principal sponsor of the British sailing team. For more information go to www.skandiateamgbr.com
© Sportsbeat 2012