KIERAN Bird is in buoyant mood as he continues his punishing training schedule ahead of his maiden Olympic Games.

The Bicester swimmer is putting in the hard yards as he prepares for his first taste of the festival of sport, which runs from July 23 to August 8 in Tokyo, Japan.

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Bird, 21, was selected for Team GB after achieving the Olympic consideration time when he won the 400m freestyle at the British trials in April.

He stopped the clock at 3mins 46.00secs – a lifetime best.

Another career highlight followed last month, when the former Bicester Blue Fins member made his senior debut at the European Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Finishes of seventh and eighth in the 400 and 800m freestyle heats do not appear impressive, but Bird and his teammates were using the meet to train and gain international experience.

And the ex-Cooper School pupil was pleased with how it turned out.

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He said: “We were training and going to the gym right the way through it.

“If we’d rested going into that meet it would have been another two weeks of hard training we’d have missed out on.

“It was good to get some racing in and get to know the team before the summer.

“I always say ‘a happy swimmer is a fast swimmer’.

“If you have good cohesion with the whole team and enjoy yourself, then the swimming comes to you.”

After ten days in Hungary, Bird travelled to Scotland for British Swimming’s Glasgow Meet last weekend, which was used for the same purpose.

He is now in Bath, where he is based, for his final four-week block of training in the UK.

Bird will fly to Japan on July 10 for a two-week camp in Yokohama, before arriving in Tokyo ‘two or three days’ before the Games.

Reaching the Olympics is an achievement in itself, but he is not there to make up the numbers.

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Bird said: “At the end of the day, people remember results at the Olympics, rather than the European Championships.

“It’s everyone’s dream to win an Olympic medal.

“My preparations are going better than planned and my results were the strongest in-season swims I’ve ever done.

“I think I’ve really made a step up since the trials.

“The psychological impact on my confidence is through the roof.

“I’m very happy outside of the pool, as well as in it.”

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