SWIMMING boss Brenda Bland has hailed the achievement of Jemma Lowe’s third Commonwealth Games and will not rule out an Olympic hat-trick.
J Lo will tomorrow start her bid for glory in Glasgow in the 100 metres butterfly.
It is the Hartlepool girl’s third Commonwealth event after making her debut at Melbourne as a 16-year-old in 2006 and winning bronze in the 100 butterfly in Delhi in 2010.
Hartlepool and Great Britain swimming servant Bland and Lowe have an incredible eight Commonwealth and Olympic Games between them.
And Brenda believes Rio de Janeiro is a distinct possibility for the 24-year-old, who was sixth in the 100 metres finals in Beijing in 2008 and London four years later.
“To be at her third Commonwealths is a tremendous achievement,” Bland told SportMail.
“So too are two Olympics and she could do a third as well which would be fantastic.
“Jemma is certainly mentally tough enough as she has proven through her career.
“Hopefully, she’ll be physically tough enough - if her arm problems do not re-occur she’s good enough to do it.”
The Olympics are still two years away - a lifetime in sport - but Glasgow 2014 is now.
Lowe will be at the opening ceremony this evening at Celtic Park, which will be screened live on BBC1.
Bland will be an interested viewer when she tunes in tonight but will be glued to the box tomorrow morning when the first swimming session gets under way at 10.30am.
She has been in awe at the former High Tunstall College of Science and English Martyrs Sixth Form College pupil’s career which all began as a little girl at Hartlepool Swimming Club.
“I’m not certain but I think she probably started about six,” said Brenda.
“You could see her talent at an early age and I remember her as a diver as well.
“She’s made a real success of her career.
“Jemma just loves swimming, the training, the racing, everything.
“She’s achieved so much and the great thing is she’s been a marvellous ambassador for our town.
“Jemma has been based in Newport, America and now Bath, but she always says she’s from Hartlepool.
“I remember her coming to Brazil in 2006 when I managed the GB team to the World Youth Championships.
“She swam at the pool next door to the Maracana so I hope she gets back to Rio in 2014.
“Jemma has always been a good swimmer - she’s really worked hard at it, but she’s got a lovely flowing style and always looks so comfortable in the water.
“I was a bit concerned to hear she’d had a bad arm injury but hope all that’s behind her and she has a great Commonwealth Games.”
There will be no Bland at this Commonwealths - she is now “totally retired”.
Brenda, who recently retired from Springs, has been synonymous with England and GB swimming, managing numerous squads, including the 2002 and 2010 Commonwealths and 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
“I don’t miss it,” she said honestly. “Combining work and swimming was quite stressful.
“I retired after Delhi, which wasn’t a bad way to go out.
“I will be watching these Commonwealths on the TV rather than from poolside but I will be cheering Jemma on.”