Jemma Lowe “on track” for Olympics after striking gold

JEMMA Lowe is “on track” for London 2012 after striking gold in her last race before the Olympics.

The Hartlepool swimmer won the 200m metres title at the British Gas ASA National Championships – the distance she will be racing in the capital on July 31.

Even though there are only 36 days to go before she steps on the blocks at the Aquatic Centre, J-Lo says in swimming terms there is still a long way to go.

It means she is not getting carried away by her success in Sheffield but she was highly satisfied with her day’s work.

The 22-year-old won in style, clocking a time of two minutes 8.59 seconds, finishing over two seconds in front of Essex girl Elena Sheridan (2:10.71).

Lowe was second to Jessica Sylvester after the first 50 metres but by the halfway mark she had established a lead of over a second.

The Swansea ITC swimmer put in a powerful final length to leave her rivals trailing and finish on top of the podium after clinching a silver at the Barcelona leg of the Mare Nostrum series earlier in the month.

“Considering I’m still in hard training it was not a bad time,” said J-Lo.

“I beat the time I got in Barcelona so I was pleased.

“I was looking to get a 2:07 or 2:08 so at the stage I’m quite happy to win in the time I did. Things are on track.

“I’ve still got three or four weeks of hard training still to do before I start tapering things down before the Games.

“I was here to get some race practice and I’m pleased I got that.

“The girls I was up against are not going [to the Olympics] so they were geared up to hit their best times in Sheffield.

“I’m still in training and I’m tuning up to get the right times at the Olympics.

“This was my last chance for race practice and I’m glad I took it, but there is still a lot of work to do before the Games.”

The win was made all the better by the fact that the former High Tunstall College of Science and English Martyrs Sixth Form College pupil pulling out of the 100 metre butterfly on Wednesday.

Jemma suffered a neck spasm after swimming in the heat of the 200 metres freestyle on Wednesday morning and withdrew from the butterfly as a precaution.

Dad Mike, who was in Sheffield to cheer her to victory on Saturday, said: “I think if that had happened at the Olympics Jemma has said she would have had to swim.

“But here, it was not worth the risk.

“The physios told her that it would probably take 30-36 hours to clear up. And they were right.

“She decided she was going to race and was fastest in the heats on the morning.

“Jemma was a little bruised after the massages she had got but the problem she had on Wednesday did not seem to affect her.”