I was born on 18 February 1977 and grew up in rural Norfolk, which is about a 90 minute drive north of London in the UK. I went to the local state school – Downham Market High School and Sixth Form. I was a member of most school sports teams, although I focused more on my studies than I did on reaching my full potential on the pitch. My parents, Lin and Steve, were super supportive and encouraged my brother Matthew and I to try as many different activities as possible – in and out of school. My gymnastics career came to a grinding halt in about 1985 when I realised that I had the coordination and balance of a baby giraffe and instead I started swimming. I was a member of a local swimming club, Thetford Dolphins, from the age of nine – training maybe four times a week, and competing in local competitions on the weekends. The best thing about sport was the opportunity it gave me to spend time with my friends, keep reasonably fit, and take my nose out of the school books.