Seven medals at the recent Scottish Short-Course championships have provided swimmer Lucy Hope with the perfect prelude for her Commonwealth Games practice.
The Borders swimmer was due to leave yesterday (Wednesday) for Tenerife, where she and her teammates will be attending a three-week training camp, before the journey begins in mid-March to Brisbane, then the Gold Coast – and hopeful Commonwealth success.
As well as the thrill of being selected for the Scottish squad in 2018, Lucy, who is 21 later this month, took part the the World University Games during the summer in Taiwan and, more recently, broke the Scottish 100m freestyle record at the British University Championships.
This bolstered her confidence for the Scottish Short-Course Championships – and, while she expected to do well, she travelled home with six gold medals and one silver.
“It was really good, and good to finish off the year like that as well,” she said.
“That was our last short-course meet of the year, so after Christmas, we went on to the long course season and run-up to the Commonwealth Games.
“It was good to come away with a lot of medals and just off my best times, especially when I had exams as well.”
Lucy scored silver in the 50m backstroke and three golds in relays for the Edinburgh University girls’ team, along with three more in the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle.
She made her Commonwealth Games debut in the relay squad in Glasgow in 2014 but, four years on, with a lot more experience under her belt, she knows the Gold Coast event will be very different.
“I was delighted to be selected,” she said.
“I would have been a bit upset (not to) after going to Glasgow when only 17, so this was more of a realistic Games target for me.
“I am looking this time to make semi-finals, make finals, and see what I can do when I get there.”
Lucy, from Crailinghall, near Jedburgh, has been swimming competitively since the age of seven and was a familiar figure at swimming clubs in Kelso and Selkirk.
“I am very competitive,” she admitted.
At present, she is studying business and accounting at Edinburgh, while a typical training schedule for her sport includes 10 weekly two-hour sessions in the pool, complemented by weight training in the gym, and yoga.
“It’s quite good to have gym and yoga that you can do outside of just swimming up and down,” she said.
“It makes it a bit easier if you’re training elsewhere.”
The Commonwealth Games could also be a springboard for qualification for the European Championships in Glasgow this year, which is the next big event on which Lucy’s sights are set.
And she can count on solid family support on the Gold Coast, with parents Katrina and Brian, and older sister Emma, going out to watch her.