TRIALS 2012: There's more bad news than good in battle for Olympic selections
FOR every success story there's more than one sob story at this week's British Olympic swim trials.
GUTTED: While Jo Jackson and Rebecca Adlington (left and middle) qualified in the 400m freestyle, a devastated Jazmin Carlin (right) missed out (SWpix)
While Jemma Lowe hugged her coach and called her elated family, after she grabbed her second chance at qualifying for London 2012, just a few yards away Richard Webb was calling time on his career.
After countless early starts, endless lengths and an often mind-numbing training routine, the pursuit of his Olympic dream had, just a few minutes earlier, become a nightmare.
In truth Webb was not among the favourites for the 200m breaststroke final but self-confidence is a key trait of most athletes - others might have doubted him but he was backing himself.
However, he couldn't argue with the cold hard reality after placing a distant sixth.
“I’ve not been on funding now for six months. I’ve been living off savings and I’m pretty much bankrupt so I’ll probably quit now,” he said.
“I’ve driven myself into the ground living off credit cards and overdrafts because I dreamed of competing at my home Olympics. Even if I wanted to I can’t really afford to continue, it's probably time to get a job and stop dreaming.
“If you look at the depth in this event there isn’t really space for me on the team any more. So I just have to move on.”
In the same race Kris Gilchrist, the British record holder, four-time national champion and medallist at the Commonwealth Games and European Championship, cut an equally glum figure.
Holding the trials at the Olympic venue may be aspirational for the rising stars and youngsters, all dreaming of future success, and a useful reconnaissance exercise for those who secure their Team GB places but for Gilchrist it couldn't be worse.
He fancied his chances in both the 100m and 200m breaststroke but qualified in neither. Competing at the Olympic pool was just another indication of how close but ultimately futile his efforts had been.
They say losing the Cup semi-final is bad but losing in the Olympic trials, especially for a once-in-a-lifetime home Games, is water torture.
Gilchrist finished third - only the top two qualified - and gave every impression he wanted to dump his bronze medal in the nearest bin.
"I'm 28 and I suppose a diplomatic way of putting it is that it would take something pretty special for me to continue in terms of motivation," he said, as he started to think about a future away from a sport that has dominated more than half his life.
"There is going to be a new chapter now."
And then there is freestyle specialist Jazmin Carlin, a regular on the British team since 2009, when she was part of the silver medal winning 4x200m freestyle quartet in Rome.
She missed out in the 200m, 400m and then withdrew from the 800m final - a devastating end to a week that appeared to offer such high hopes.
She blames an untimely bout of glandular fever last year for hitting her training and on such quirks of fate Olympic fortunes turn.
However, unlike Webb and Gilchrist she does have another chance to make the 4x200m freestyle team at June's ASA Nationals, the second chance trials in Sheffield.
Qualify for the Olympics but fail to perform and you are still an Olympian, joining an exclusive club of those who have competed at a home Games.
Failure at the trials and you're an almost forgotten foot note to the London 2012 story.
Hopefully, in time, Webb and Gilchrist can reflect on the achievements of their careers but for now the emotion is probably all too raw.
For some this week is a pool party, for others it is just a wake, underlining just what Olympic founder Pierre de Courbetin meant when he wrote about the 'triumph and the struggle'.
© Sportsbeat 2012
MORE COLUMNS BY SPORTSBEAT'S JAMES TONEY