California dreaming for Hatfield Olympian with grand designs

PUBLISHED: 08:42 17 January 2009 | UPDATED: 22:10 26 October 2009

Hatfield swimmer Richard Charlesworth in Trafalgar Square with the rest of the GB Olympic team

Hatfield swimmer Richard Charlesworth in Trafalgar Square with the rest of the GB Olympic team

HATFIELD Swimming Club Olympian Richard Charlesworth is off to Los Angeles as he looks to build and design his future in more ways than one. As well as training and preparing for the 2012 London Olympics across the Atlantic, the 20-year-old will be studyi

Hatfield swimmers Richard Charlesworth and Adam Brown with London Mayor Boris Johnson

HATFIELD Swimming Club Olympian Richard Charlesworth is off to Los Angeles as he looks to build and design his future in more ways than one.

As well as training and preparing for the 2012 London Olympics across the Atlantic, the 20-year-old will be studying architecture at the University of Southern California (USC).

Since the 2008 Beijing Games, in which Charlesworth was 25th in the 1,500m freestyle, he has been setting up his immediate future.

Charlesworth said: "I have been frantically working on things for the last few months trying to get things sorted to go out to the USA.

"I in fact got news this morning [last Thursday] that I have been accepted and am now officially enrolled at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles."

Charlesworth jets out to the home of Hollywood today (Saturday) and will begin life as a student in the States the following week.

Depending on swimming commitments, he will be in America studying for the next five to six years.

With some of the top swimmers on the planet training at USC, the Brit will be in good company as he looks to develop his times in the pool.

Richard will be hoping to get a few tips in particular from Oussama Mellouli, who won the 1,500m freestyle gold in Beijing.

Mellouli is not the only Olympic swimmer currently at the university.

Beijing's 400m freestyle bronze medallist Larson Jensen also trains there, as will be the winner of that race, Korean Tae Hwan Park, for the next six weeks.

"This will be a huge benefit to me," said Richard. "Not only does it give me the opportunity to train and compete with the best in the world, it gives me the chance to observe and learn from them."

As well as having world-class athletes around him, the Herts lad will also enjoy the excellent sports amenities on offer.

"The facilities at USC are second to none," he said. "I will be training in a 50m pool which doubles as a 25-yard pool.

"As well as this I will have access to strength and conditioning, physio and academic and sporting advisors to help me with every aspect of my trip."

Being on the other side of the world and away from his Herts family home is nothing new to Charlesworth.

Prior to the Beijing Games, he trained and studied on Australia's Gold Coast for two years as part of the now defunct British Offshore Centre.

Richard's Hatfield club colleague and fellow Olympian Adam Brown has also decided to study in America, but at Auburn University, Alabama, as reported in last week's WHTimes.

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