JESS LLOYD relished being back in a competition environment, though the 21-year-old from Diggle failed to make the Great Britain swimming team for this summer’s Olympic Games.
After a lengthy spell out of the pool due to her mother Ann’s battle against cancer, Jess was not expecting to qualify at the British Championships in Glasgow that doubled up as the trials for the Olympics.
Jess took part in the 50m freestyle, but did not progress beyond the heats.
The former Saddleworth School pupil, who was in the GB team for London 2012 and the Commonwealth Games two years ago, said: “My time was 1.5sec off my personal best, but I was there for the experience rather than the race.
“It was nice to be back in that environment with top swimmers. It was a big step up and I had not seen many of them since I had taken time out.
“I have always been in the spotlight and it was nice to be in the shadows. I want to be in the spotlight in 18 months’ time hopefully preparing for the Commonwealth Games in Australia.”
Jess says she has got her mojo back for swimming after the time out of the pool and is excited about the future.
She explained: “Having a break may prove helpful in the long term as it has given me a new lease of life.
“I have never wanted it as much and it is like I am starting again from scratch with an exciting 18 months ahead.”
The build up to the Commonwealth Games continues next month with an exciting trip abroad to take part in the Mare Nostrum events over three weekends in Monaco, Cannes and Barcelona.
Jess, who has competed there before, said: “Most of the top swimmers in the world attend at least one of the events.
“It is great competing in an outdoor pool and the weather is perfect. I am also staying for a training camp between Cannes and Barcelona.”
She will be taking part in the 50m and 100m freestyle in those events.
Then after a two-week’s training with her City of Manchester club, Jess will be heading overseas again to compete in the Portuguese nationals.