Nick Gillingham was a breaststroke swimmer who excelled over 200 metres and was also competitive over the shorter distance. He won three consecutive European titles at 200 breaststroke between 1989 and 1993 and won the World Championship in the same event in 1993. He took a further two bronze medals from World Championships and another silver and two bronze at European level.
Gillingham’s times improved during the early part of 1988 and he arrived at the Seoul Olympics ranked in the world’s top three. In the 200 breaststroke final in Seoul he trailed in the early stages but finished strongly to finish second behind Hungary’s József Szabó. Four years later in Barcelona he swam a personal best time but could only finish third as Mike Barrowman swam to a brilliant new world record. Gillingham himself had set a world record in 1989 and was world ranked #1 for five of the six years between 1989 and 1994. His final Olympic appearance came in 1996 and he again reached the final of the 200 breast where he finished in fourth place. When Andrey Korneyev delivered a positive dope test he was briefly elevated to the bronze medal position but a successful appeal by Korneyev, based on the fact that the drug involved was not specifically named on the list of banned substances, relegated him back to his original position. Gillingham, who also won a gold, a silver and four bronze medals at the Commonwealth Games between 1986 and 1994, retired from competition after Atlanta although he returned to compete with great success in masters events in the 21st century. He has had a wide and varied career which has taken in time as a television commentator, an official with both the British Olympic Association and the Amateur Swimming Association as well as periods in marketing and as a motivational speaker.