WITH an “unknown improvement” left in every swimmer who is headed for the Olympics, Jemma Lowe could yet find herself bringing home a medal to Hartlepool.
That is the view of her dad, Mike, who believes that barely one second will separate the competitors striving for gold in the 200m butterfly final next Wednesday.
Lowe has not set a new Personal Best time for over a year now and Mike believes that, should she achieve that at the Games, then nothing more could be asked of the 22-year-old.
“You have to go there and set a new PB,” he told SportMail. “That is all you can ask.
“A new PB could potentially take her to second or third.
“It’s a year now since she set a PB and the plan has always been to peak come this summer.”
Lowe, however, will first have to negotiate Tuesday’s heats to make the final 24 hours later.
And Mike added: “Jemma is in with a great shout of the final based on her times and what she has achieved.
“She has to get through the heats first and that is all she’s concentrating on for now.
“You want her to peak in the final, of course, but first you’ve got to make sure you get there.”
If Lowe – a former pupil at High Tunstall College of Science and English Martyrs Sixth Form College – is to make it onto the podium in the capital then she will have to overcome Great Britain team-mate Ellen Gandy, currently ranked one place ahead of her at number four in the world.
China’s Jiao Liuyang and Zige Liu are the favourites for gold, but Mike believes there is improvement left in all of the challengers, making the outcome something of an unknown.
“In the final I would guess there will be less than one second between them and the time should be within 2.04 to 2.05,” he said.
“That gives Jemma a chance if she improves and that is the aim.
“But you’d think that most people have yet to peak this year, which makes it so interesting, there is an unknown improvement in every swimmer.
“The two Chinese girls are very good, there is Ellen Gandy, of course, and the Americans and Australians will be snapping at their heels.
“So it should be a cracking event and we’re all pretty excited now.”