By Tom Reynolds, Sportsbeat
Keri-Anne Payne might be the favourite to claim London 2012 10km open water gold – but the Stockport swimmer believes her secret weapon won’t be in the water but on dry land and that’s mum Patricia.
By racing to World Championship gold in Shanghai earlier this year, Payne not only became the first GB athlete to secure her 2012 berth but also established herself as an overwhelming favourite to top the podium.
A self-confessed control freak, Payne, however not only has her route to London 2012 gold to plot but also a wedding to organise to fellow Stockport ITC swimmer David Carry just a month after the Games.
With such a hectic ten months planned Payne admits the pressure will be enormous but believes having mum Patricia by her side can make sure she has two reasons to celebrate next summer.
“I am a natural worrier and an organiser of things but my family are helping out a lot with the wedding plans,” said Payne. “I organised a surprise party for my fiancée’s 30th birthday party recently and I organised it and booked it in March so I was really keen but I guess that’s who I am.
“But it’s really nice to have my family there to help out because next year there is going to be a lot going on.
“I definitely get all my organisational skills from my mum and my family were always there supporting me when I was swimming when I was younger.
“My brother swam and he was nine years older than me and my older sister also swam so when I started going they almost let me get on with it.
“They were still there to support me hugely but at the same time they weren’t at the side of the water with a stopwatch which was good because I would have killed them if they had done that.”
As part of the British Olympic Association’s brand-new partnership with P&G UK, Team Payne will be handed two free tickets to Keri-Anne’s first foray into action at London 2012.
Mother Patricia knows only too well that for the Olympic gold-medal hunt to be a success the Stockport swimmer will need Team Payne to be on song as well – and she’s ready for the challenge.
“I think the interest in London 2012 is going to definitely get bigger as we get nearer the time and I am hoping she is going to be able to cope with it all,” said Patricia.
“She is very level-headed anyway and she won’t give up training for anything or anybody so her focus is very much more on the swim than what is going on around her.
“If she has got the time she will do something with the press maybe but I am always happy to get involved in things that she is doing because if I can take the pressure off her a little bit then I want to do that.
“We have sat and discussed things in the past and I decided if I can take the pressure off her in any way whatsoever then that is great.”
Sophia Warner was speaking at the launch of the ‘nearest & dearest' programme in partnership with P&G - supporting family and friends of all TeamGB and ParalympicsGB athletes in the lead up to London 2012. Visit www.pgproudsponsorofmums.co.uk