Personality: Ian Wilson

Wilson Calls It A Day


Anita Lonsbrough

Ian Wilson, a stalwart of the British team for the past decade, has decided to call it a day. The 28-year-old holds the English record for the 1500 (15:03.72), established when he won silver at the European Championships in 1991, and the British short course mark in the 1500 (14:40.69) set four years later.

Wilson admits that he's "not able to cope with the high level of training needed for my event anymore."

Wilson retires after a successful decade
Click image for larger photo. Photo © Marco Chiesa

Ian started to train at the age of seven.The following year, he took part in his first race. It was at the tender age of eight that he was introduced to the discipline of training at 5:00 am. National age group competition followed the next year. His first medal came at those championships at the age of eleven. But it was at the senior level where he really made his mark. Wilson gained senior international selection in 1989. Two years later he won silver at the European Championships and gold at the World Student Games. He added to his trophy cabinet in 1995 at the World Short Course Championships and 1996 European Short Course Championships, where he won silver on both occasions. Wilson was also a finalist at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games and the 1991 World Championships.

Ian Wilson, GBR
PLACE Sunderland, GBR
HEIGHT 182 cm (6'0")
WEIGHT 72 kg (160 lb)
REPRESENTS City of Leeds
COACH Terry Denison
- 99 SC Worlds 4th 1500 free 14:58.40
- 98 SC Europeans 1500 free 15:02.18
- 98 Commonwealths 6th 1500 free 15:29.83
- 97 Europeans 6th 1500 free 15:23.54
- 94 Commonwealths 4th 1500 free 15:08.77
- 92 Olympics 5th 1500 free 15:13.35
- 91 Europeans 2nd 1500 free 15:03.72

In his final race at the World Short Course Championships in Hong Kong, Wilson finished a creditable fourth in 14:58.40. His decision to retire was "a tough decision to make. Swimming has been my life all my life. But I feel deep down I have made the right decision." He added, "Finishing fourth in a World Championship in my last race means I am going out on a high."

In 1993, Ian Wilson's career received a major setback when he was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. It took him some time to get back to full training. Since then, "my consistency has not been there," and after any little knock back he did not feel he was "able to bounce back."

Wilson managed to fit in his swimming training with his college work, where he gained a 2.1 degree in business studies. He is keen to stay in the sport and is hoping, like so many others who retire from competitive sport, to find a role with the sport's governing body.