SWIMMING: Rachel eyes more medal glory
MELKSHAM Commonwealth Games hopeful Rachel Williams cannot wait for the new season to get started so that she can prove that her stunning medal haul at the British Gas ASA National Championships was no fluke.
The 19-year-old, who trains at the University of Bath’s Intensive Training Centre and also represents Melksham amateur swimming club, came back from the nationals at the start of this month with one gold, one silver and three bronze medals.
Williams topped the podium in the 800m freestyle with a time of 8:42.75, set a new Welsh record of 4:47.58 as she clinched silver in the 400m individual medley, and also took bronzes in the 400m freestyle, 100m backstroke and 200m backstroke in Sheffield.
The former Corsham School student’s achievement was made all the more remarkable as it marked her major comeback from a season ravaged by illness and Williams is hoping that her medal magic was not a one-off as she chases a place in the Wales team for Glasgow 2014.
“I’d really dropped off the radar a bit to be honest because last year, I got glandular fever and was out of the pool for months – I didn’t come back until October,” said Williams, who secured new personal bests during all her medal-winning displays in Sheffield.
“Every time I got in the pool and finished, I looked up at the scoreboard and just thought ‘have I really just done that?’.
“It was incredible and I really couldn’t believe it because it was pretty much my big comeback - I was just hoping to swim well and make the finals if I could.
“The new season gets started next month and I really can’t wait to get out there and prove that what happened at the nationals wasn’t a dream.
“The Commonwealth Games have been something that I’ve been looking at for a long time but it’s going to be quite hard to get there.
I’ve had a look at the qualifying times and Swim Wales really are looking for the best of the best to be out there competing because the times are so difficult - but if I carry on like I have done, then I’m sure I’ve got a chance.
“Because of being ill, I haven’t been able to swim for Melksham for a long time, so that’s the first thing I’m planning to do this season.”
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