Belfast Telegraph

Swim aces hungry to shine at the Commonwealth Games

By David Kelly

For the majority of Northern Ireland's swimming team these Commonwealth Games are all about gaining experience and building towards Australia in four years time when the country should be sending a very strong outfit.

The potential within Northern Ireland's young swimmers is currently looking very strong with 14-year-olds Rachel Bethel and Danielle Hill picked for Glasgow along with 15-year-old Gemma Kane of Bangor who performed very well at the European junior championships a fortnight ago in Holland.

The European juniors are always seen as a good marker for those seeking to make an impact on the international senior stage and now butterfly ace Gemma is hoping to show her class at the Commonwealths.

"The European juniors was a really good experience. I just wanted to go and do better than last year and have a really good time and I was very happy with my times," said bubbly Rockport student Gemma.

"I had one semi-final last year in my 100m and this time I got to the 200m butterfly semi-final as well which was great.

"I can't wait for the Commonwealth Games to start now. I'm up for the challenge of the next step up from junior to senior ranks.

"I'm coming to the end of my junior days and I know that it will be a tough transition but having the Commonwealth Games and the European senior championships next month will hopefully be a big help.

"So far I've had a very good year, I've knocked seconds off my 200 and had a big PB at the European juniors in my 100m 'fly."

Now for Glasgow, and Gemma, who trains 14 hours a week, is relishing the chance to perform on the big stage in Glasgow.

"We're a very young team so this will be great experience for us all and will help a lot for four years time, that is our big target when we'll have a very strong team for the Games in Australia," she said. "I just want to really enjoy the whole experience."

Belfast Telegraph


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