Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Jemma's Set to; Pool Star Feels Good for Beijing Beijing

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Jemma's Set to; Pool Star Feels Good for Beijing Beijing

Article excerpt

JEMMA LOWE has not long passed her driving test and will still very much be wearing her sporting L-plates in Beijing.

The 18-year-old swimmer - whose campaign begins tomorrow with the 100m butterfly heats - is in uncharted territory as one of three Teessiders making their Olympic debuts in China but is determined to rise to the occasion at the Water Cube aquatic centre.

Judging by her form this year, the Hartlepool teenager stands every chance of enhancing her reputation as one of the brightest young talents in British swimming - and possibly winning a medal.

She swam a near three-second personal best in April to win the 200m butterfly at the British Championships, which doubled as the Olympic trials, and won silver in the 100m. Then she followed up with an outstanding two World Short Course Championship bronze medals in the 100m butterfly and medley relay in Manchester.

And her personal best times, which include two British long course records of 57.78sec and 2min 6.64sec for the 100m and 200m butterfly, are among the fastest in the world this year and rank on the all-time global list.

Jemma, who will be swimming the 100m and 200m butterfly in Beijing, along with the 4x100m medley relay, said the success has strengthened her inner belief as she keeps a level head for the 29th Games.

"The times I got at the trials made me think I had a chance of getting a medal at the Worlds," said the Borough of Stockton Swim Scheme star.

"I'd never even thought of that before. That has given me a boost for Beijing but I don't want to get too excited.

"I've just got to keep focused and do my best. I'm not nervous at all, I'm more excited than anything."

The former High Tunstall School pupil said it is the realisation of a lifelong ambition to be going to the Olympics - but stressed that she is treating it like any other event.

"It's my first time at the Olympics and it means everything to me to be going," she said. "I've been training for 10 years, all of those lengths of the pool and all that swimming takes up a lot of my time and a lot of my social time. …

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