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17 October 2014

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Alison Sheppard's fifth Olympics 2004

Alison Sheppard

© SNSpix

In a sport which is noted for the short period in which competitors stay at the top level, Alison Sheppard was one of Britain's leading freestyle sprint swimmers for almost two decades, prior to her retirement early in 2005.

Born in Glasgow in November 1972, Alison is a great niece of former Formula 1 motor racing world champion Jim Clark. She learned to swim at the Milngavie and Bearsden club and first emerged as a potential future medal winner at the age of 15, when she was selected for the British team for the 1988 Olympics in South Korea.

She swam in 5 Olympic meetings (a record in itself), although it was not until 10 years after her Seoul appearance that she won the first of the 16 medals she gained in Commonwealth, European and World Championships, when taking the silver medal in the 50 metres Freestyle during the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.

Building upon that success in 1999, she won bronze in the European Short Course Championships in the 4x50 metres Freestyle event and also finished third in the World Championships 50 metres individual Freestyle, again over the short course.

However, it wasn't only over the short course that she was challenging for honours as she finished third in the European Championships freestyle over the longer course and again finished third in the 4x100 metres Freestyle long course in the European Championships.

Alison Sheppard

© SNSpix

In 2000, more bronze medals followed in the 2000 World Championships in the individual freestyle event and also in the 4x100 metres relay. Sheppard also reached the final of her favoured event in the Sydney Olympics, finishing seventh. She was part of the British 4 x 100 freestyle relay team that broke the national record in finishing fifth in the event.

The following year the relay squad won the silver in the 4x100m Freestyle at the World Championships.

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