LIFE is a balancing act for Tilly Gray at present.
The Swindon swimmer is having to cope with not only the demands of the third year of her sports science degree at Loughborough, but also the beginning of the building process for the Commonwealth Games in 2014.
The 20-year-old’s plan is to go part-time at university until the new year, before then fully focusing her efforts on training ahead of Commonwealth trials, with the two opportunities to achieve this in 2013 being at the World Championships or US Nationals, with a further set of trials taking place early the following year.
However, the 200m butterfly specialist fully admits she needs financial backing if she is to pursue her goal of clocking the qualifying time of 2:10.40 and making Glasgow in 2014.
“I saw so many of my teammates (at Loughborough) compete at the Olympics, and the Commonwealths are almost like a mini-version, but it’s still such a big competition,” said Gray, who won gold in 100m fly at ASA Nationals this year.
“You have the opening ceremony and the athletes’ village and I want to be part of that - I’ll do anything to get there, but financially I’m in a bit of a tricky situation.”
As a part-time student, Gray no longer receives a student loan , and while her pre-season training is going well under new coach Matt Bow, she need funds to help her realise her potential.
“If I don’t fully commit to swimming then I will always be saying, ‘what if?’. I’ve been saying that for the past two years and after just missing out on the last Commonwealth Games, I wouldn’t want to go through that again,” she said.
“The Commonwealth Games is a realistic goal, but I don’t want to leave the preparation until the last minute. I don’t want to be trying to catch up with everything.
“I’m looking for sponsorship but with it being after the Olympics, I’m aware it’s going to be hard. It would be great to get hold of a sponsor if anyone is interested in Swindon, because financially I’m really stuck.”
If you are interested in sponsoring Gray, email Tilly.Gray200fly@hotmail.co.uk or phone the Adver sportsdesk on 01793 501833.