JEMMA Lowe is looking to “get on the podium” at the Commonwealth Games after winning medals at the British Gas International.
Lowe made the perfect start to her countdown to Glasgow next month by being on the rostrum twice in the major event in Manchester which concluded at the weekend.
The Hartlepool swimmer, who will be competing for Wales at her third Commonwealths, won the 200 metres butterfly and was pipped for gold in the 100.
It proved she is getting back to full fitness after a frustrating injury spell and is now targeting to “get on the podium” in Scotland.
“I got bronze at the last Commonwealth Games, so it will be good to do that, or do even better,” said the 24-year-old who is relishing the trip to Glasgow.
“It’s really good to represent your country and be part of a special competition.
“It’s a really great experience.”
Medals were not the priority at Manchester Aquatics Centre – it was all about getting some races under her belt.
But gold in the 200 and silver in the 100 were not unwelcome results and now she is looking to put the finishing touches to her preparations over the next few weeks.
That involves coming down from 50,000 metres a week in the pool to ‘just’ 20,000.
“I feel fairly happy where I’m at the moment,” said J Lo, who is now in her second year based at Bath University.
“The British Gas International was important to get the practice before the Commonwealths.
“I’m going to have a bit of time now at Bath before the Wales team goes to London where us and the England squad are having a holding camp before flying to Glasgow.”
Lowe was at her imperious best in the 200 butterfly, winning convincingly in two minutes, 10.89 seconds.
The European Short course bronze medallist led at the end of the first, second and third lengths to beat Manchester’s Georgia Barton (2:12.49) by 1.6 seconds.
Plymouth teenager Charlotte Atkinson was third in (2:13.37).
Lowe had been even quicker in qualifying, clocking 2:08.52, recording impressive split times of 28.51, 61.29 and 94.68.
The former High Tunstall College of Science pupil and English Martyrs Sixth Form student then faced a showdown with rival Rachael Kelly in the 100 final.
J Lo had beaten Kelly 12 months ago in the British Gas Championship in a great race in Sheffield.
The duo served up another in Manchester, but this time Kelly had her revenge, edging out Lowe by just four tenths of a second.
Lowe actually led the race by seven hundredths of a second at the turn.
However, the 20-year-old Loughborough University student finished well over the last 50 metres to snatch victory in 58.76 seconds.
Lowe had to settle for silver in 59.16 with Atkinson clinching back-to-back bronze medals in 1:00.32.
J Lo was supported in Manchester by dad, Mike, and mam, Janet.
And Mike says there is relief in the Lowe household that Jemma is over a troubled injury period.
“She’s fine now, but she had a stress fracture in her arm which carried on for four or five months,” Mike told SportMail.
“For a while she was a bit out of sorts and the only pool stuff she could really do were leg kicks.
“But over the last month she seems to have been pain free and is getting back into it now.”
Lowe will be part of a double-pronged Hartlepool assault in the Commonwealth Games which get under way on July 23.
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