Jedburgh swimmer Lucy makes big splash by smashing her own Scottish record

Borders swimmer Lucy Hope is delighted about having made the biggest splash of her sporting career so far despite having been out of action for almost five months due to coronavirus restrictions.

Friday, 27th November 2020, 12:53 pm
Jedburgh swimmer Lucy Hope.
Jedburgh swimmer Lucy Hope.

Not only did the Jedburgh 23-year-old get to line up alongside an all-star cast of Olympic champions in the second-placed Energy Standard team at the International Swimming League’s season finale tournament in Hungary but she also set a new Scottish record then proceeded, just days later, to smash it.

That time, of 52.83 seconds, was for her opening 100m stretch of the 12-team Budapest contest’s B relay event.

Former Jedburgh Grammar School and Howdenburn Primary pupil Lucy, now in the the final year of an accounting and business degree at Edinburgh University, said: “I was just glad to be racing again after so long.

Lucy after winning a bronze medal in the women's open 50m freestyle final at the British Swimming Championships in 2017 in Sheffield. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

“It was actually a great experience overall.

“It was a bit surreal at the start, being there with all these multiple Olympic medallists.

“Being surrounded by them every day was just a great thing to be part of.”

Among her team-mates were Denmark’s Pernille Blume, women’s 50 m freestyle champion at 2016’s Summer Olympics in Brazil, and Sarah Sjostrom, current world record-holder for 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle and 50m and 100m butterfly, as well as being the first female Swede to win an Olympic gold medal for swimming.

Lucy Hope competing in a women's 50m backstroke swimming qualifier at the Tollcross swimming centre during the 2018 European Championships in Glasgow in 2018. (Photo: Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)

Though not yet in need of a trophy cabinet of similar proportions to those of her team-mates, Lucy is no stranger to success herself, having picked up a gold medal in the women’s 200m freestyle relay at 2018’s European Aquatics Championships in Glasgow, and she’s also being tipped to challenge for a place at next year’s delayed 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan.

Managing her best time yet after so long away from swimming pools didn’t come as too big a surprise to her as she’d managed to keep fit over the course of the covid-19 lockdown from March into July, said the former Kelso Amateur Swimming Club member, now coached by Mat Trodden and Chris Jones and training for about 20 hours a week in the water and another four or five in the gym.

“I was feeling quite good,” she said.

“It was almost five months without any competitive swimming, but I was probably in the best shape of my life going into lockdown and I think I managed to keep that up.

“It was great just to be swimming again and enjoying sport.”