Breakfast Olympians: Mickey Clarke
OK, I confess. Up until a few weeks I didnt even know ladies synchronised swimming was an Olympic sport. Come to think of it, I didn't even have it down as a sport at all.
To say I was disappointed at being asked by the Breakfast programme to adopt Great Britain's synchronised swimming team was an understatement. What was wrong with something more in keeping with my manly image, such as the shot put, the javelin or wrestling?
The news was greeted with more than a few sniggers around the newsroom, I can tell you.
But my recent visit to the army barracks at Aldershot, the ladies have adopted as their training headquarters, was a real eye-opener. These girls, whose ages range from 17 to 23, are fit. Six days a week, they train under the watchful eye of their coaches. They want to be the best in the world and that cannot be achieved without hard work and dedication.
It's worth remembering that when the ladies undertake their routines, they spend a lot of time under water. That places a huge amount of stress on their bodies and means that their lungs are often fit to burst. These precision routines cannot be achieved unless each member of the team is in in tip-top form. One sluggish member can let the rest of their mates down.
The hard work has paid off over the past few years with this young GB team climbing the world rankings. But there is tough opposition and the coaches are realistic. The team may struggle to achieve gold at the London Olympics next year, but they can be world-beaters by the time they compete in Rio in 2016.
My own meagre attempt at learning the sport confirmed what I already knew. Shed 30 years and three stone and I might be in with a chance. I ached for days afterwards but managed to avoid the harpoons that the girls felt impelled to throw in my direction.
Mickey Clarke presents Wake Up To Money and the business news on 5 live Breakfast. You can hear about his experience on Monday 25 July.