Olympics 1992 Thursday 30 July: All Miles: Ian Wilson - 1500 metres freestyle: Heats at 9.0am

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The Independent Online
Life as a medal hopeful in the 1500 metres swimming means a masochistic regime of miles of mind-numbing lengths of the pool. Ian Wilson clocks at least 9,000 metres every week. 'I'm a hard taskmaster,' he says somewhat unnecessarily. 'I like sitting down at the end of the week and totting up the yardage I've done. There's no other way with an event like mine. You have to be aerobically fit. You have to push yourself day in day out.'

It is an act of faith to put some professional sportsmen to shame. It is all pursued in his spare time - 6am until 8am and 5pm until 7pm - from his Business Studies degree course at his home town university in Sunderland. 'I used to do 10 sessions a week,' he says, 'but I've managed to stretch that to 11 in the build-up to the Olympics. My philosophy is that I want to push myself so much that every time I come out of a pool I'm a better swimmer than when I went in.'

Wilson is ranked fifth in the world and has a best time of 15min 03sec. 'There is a possibility of a medal,' he says. 'A small one, but the chance is there. All I can do is prepare as well as I can and hope everything comes right on the day. At the moment the training is going very well.' He was due back in the pool. Two hours of fast 100m, 200m and 400m beckoned.

(Photograph omitted)