JESS LLOYD has conceded it is highly unlikely she will make the Great Britain swimming team for the Olympic Games in Rio.
The 21-year-old from Diggle is competing in the British Swimming Championships, which double up as the Olympic trials at Tollcross International Swimming Centre, Glasgow, between April 12 and 17.
But, having taken a lengthy spell out of the water last year to help care for mother Ann in her battle against cancer, Jess admits the 2018 Commonwealth Games are a more realistic proposition than Rio.
Jess, who swam on the relays for Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics and for England at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, said: “I have been back in training for five months and am really pleased with the way things have gone.
“My times are coming down each week, but I still have a lot of catching up to do and don’t think I will be ready for Rio. Since returning, I have only swum three long-course meeting and a handful of short ones.”
Jess will compete in the 50m freestyle in Glasgow having only last month clocked a qualifying time for the nationals at an event in Sunderland.
She said: “It was probably my last shot at qualifying and was a big relief. I broke the meet records with my times for the 50m and 100m freestyle and qualified in the 50m for the British trials.
“My time was 0.9sec off my personal best for the 50m and I was ecstatic with that after only being back training for five months.
“If I could swim that time in the British trials, I would stand a chance. But at the moment 2016 is not my biggest goal after the traumatic events of last year.
“I need to refocus and get fully fit, but the next key time in the Commonwealth Games in two years’ time.
“If I made the team for Rio I would be chuffed after only five months’ training because I am still not performing to my best and my body is not ready.
“I would like to come back with a bang and in my own mind I am not thinking I will be on the team for Rio.
“I am sure I will come back better because I also needed a break because I had been swimming at the highest level since I was aged 14.”
Jess recently moved into a flat in Salford to be closer to her base at Manchester Aquatics where she swims for City of Manchester.
“I was doing to journey from Diggle four times a day and the driving was killing me. It is also dangerous when you are exhausted after a training session,” she explained.
Jess is hoping to have some interest in Rio as her City of Manchester team-mate and fellow Oldhamer Jessica Fullalove is striving to get on to the team in the 100m and 200m backstroke.
“She is like my little sister and our families are really close. We trained together in Oldham before both moving to City of Manchester,” explained Jess.