Wycombe swimming sensation James McFadzen is hoping his first medal on the international stage will be the catalyst to spark the next chapter of his promising career in the pool. 

The 18-year-old marked his maiden appearance for Great Britain by storming to bronze in the 200m individual medley at the European Junior Swimming Championships in Israel earlier this summer. 

Having embarked on a BSc in Applied Sports Science and Management at Loughborough College, McFadzen will train in the University’s ‘platinum’ squad this season, as he focuses on an all-important transition year towards the senior ranks.

And the former Wycombe District Swimming Club man – who also claimed a silver and a bronze at the Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas in July – believes reaching the podium in Israel will be the perfect platform to build upon next season, as he trains at the same Loughborough base as Olympic champion Adam Peaty.

“I’m relishing the reality that I’m the new kid on the block,” said McFadzen, who is one of 50 young athletes supported financially by the SSE Next Generation scheme, whose alumni include Olympic champion Katie Archibald. 

“For a while, I’ve wanted to start facing people and having new challenges and there’s no better place to do that than in the Loughborough University Swimming squad. 

“It’s going really well at the moment, I’m really enjoying it. I’m learning a lot off the older guys – and that’s what I was missing at my former club.” 

As he closes the door on his junior career, McFadzen will be buoyed not only by the bronze medal he claimed in Israel, but the two personal bests he set in the heats of both the 200m individual medley and the 100m backstroke. 

And while he qualified for the 200m individual medley with the fastest time, the young swimmer believes his performance in the final will be a learning curve for the future.  

“I didn’t go to make the podium, I just went for experience really. I had no idea about where I would stand in Europe or how I’d fare with the other guys,” said McFadzen. 

“Every race I get under my belt this season is just something to build upon in my transition year."