100 Team GB contenders for London 2012: Gemma Spofforth

Swimming (backstroke events)

Born : 17/11/87

Career highlights

Having missed an Olympic medal in the 100m backstroke by just 0.04 seconds, the Shoreham-born swimmer made up for that disappointment in style at the 2009 World Championships - winning gold in a world record time.

She added the European title in 2010 but had to settle for three silver medals at the Commonwealth Games.

Olympic history

  • 2008 - 4th (100m backstroke), 9th (200m backstroke), 4th (4x100m medley)

Other career

Illness hampered Spofforth's defence of her world title in 2011 as she failed to make the semi-finals. She had come into the championships on a bad run of form and admits she almost quit swimming after performing so badly in Shanghai.

After her A-levels, Spofforth made a "life-changing" move to the USA to study at the University of Florida, who offered her a swimming scholarship.

She graduated in 2010 after four successful years but she has had a lot to deal with away from the pool; her mother Lesley died of cancer eight months before the 2008 Olympics.

Did you know?

Spofforth used a picture of the Olympic scoreboard in Beijing - where she finished 0.04 seconds off 100m backstroke bronze - as her computer screensaver for motivation.