HEARTBREAK turned to ecstasy for Jemma Lowe at the British Gas Swimming Championships over the weekend as the Hartlepool ace admitted to feeling contrasting emotions from two gold medal-winning performances.
The 23-year-old began her week in Sheffield by claiming the 200m butterfly title on Thursday, but her time of 2:09.25 minutes was below what was required for this month’s World Championships.
What made the pain even more excruciating for Lowe was the fact she had actually dipped below the 2:09.16 mark in the semi-finals on Wednesday.
But she made amends in Saturday’s 100m fly final, winning gold and clocking 58.02 seconds – enough to secure a place to Barcelona later this month.
And the Swansea ITC racer, who qualified for the 50m butterfly final on Sunday before withdrawing from the final, claims she had been spurred on by the disappointment of events earlier in the meet.
“I’m really happy that I managed to do the time in the 100,” said Lowe. “For some reason I was so nervous before that race which is silly because I’ve been in so many more high pressure situations.
“But it just shows that it means a lot to me and I really wanted to get the time and not do what I what I did in the 200 and make the mistake of going slower.
“I really just fought in that last 50 and I’m glad I just stuck to my plan of not going out too hard.
“I think I’m focusing on people fighting after me instead of focusing on performing my best and trying to make it a really tight race. But I think you thrive on that little bit of competition as well.”
Despite her disappointment in the 200m, Lowe is hoping the British selectors – who decide on their 35-strong squad today – will also hand her a spot in that discipline despite not making the time at Ponds Forge.
“I think my coach said that they will try and get me on the 200,” she added. “I hope so because they know that I’m so much better than that time.
“My best time is four seconds quicker than that so presumably I’m not going to go any worse than I have done at this meet.
“I trained for that event so there is no reason why I haven’t got enough endurance and fitness to do it.”
This year British Gas is launching SwimBritain, a programme to create a healthier nation and get 500,000 people swimming more regularly by 2015. Visit www.swimbritain.co.uk/challenge