Olympic ace’s Poolie pride

HARTLEPOOL Olympian Jemma Lowe was “overwhelmed” to have been honoured by her home town for her sporting achievements.

The 23-year-old swimmer was back in Hartlepool to receive an award in recognition of her efforts for Team GB at this summer’s London Olympic Games.

Jemma with her proud parents

Jemma with her proud parents

Civic leaders packed into a committee room at the Civic Centre last night to great Jemma, who was joined by her family at the presentation.

The former High Tunstall College of Science pupil looked as though she was going to finish with a medal in the final of the women’s 200m butterfly event this summer.

But a late rally from her competitors saw her finish in a commendable sixth position, with a time of 2.0680 minutes.

Jemma, who is based in Swansea, said: “The support that I have received has been absolutely brilliant and I really appreciate it.

“To experience an Olympic Games in your home country is a once in a lifetime experience. It is a really special and exciting event.

“It feels really special to receive this award and it is all a bit overwhelming to be honest.”

Jemma received her glass Olympic Inspiration Award alongside boyfriend Adam Mallett, 22, mum Janet, dad Mike and sister Naomi, 25.

Adam, from Peterborough, is also a swimmer and narrowly missed out on selection for Team GB.

Jemma, who is already looking ahead to Rio 2016, added: “The Olympics was an amazing experience and the atmosphere was just incredible.

“To have 17,000 people chanting my name before the final was something I haven’t experienced before.

“I made it through to the final and anything can happen then, those two minutes can change your life forever.

“There is a lot of pressure and I made a few mistakes, but I am proud of what I achieved.

“My personal best time is 2.0536 minutes which would have been enough for a bronze so that was quite frustrating, but it is the same for many swimmers.”

After her Olympic experience, Jemma spent time catching up with family and friends back in Hartlepool and enjoyed short breaks in Ibiza and Egypt.

But she is due to head back down to Swansea this weekend and back into training ahead of a short course event in Turkey, in December.

Dad Mike said: “The whole family is very proud. The games were great and the noise inside the Aquatic Centre was just phenomenal.”

Jemma, joined at the presentation by female sports stars from the recent Inspire exhibition, will be heading to Buckingham Palace in October to meet the Queen at a reception for the Team GB squad.

Town boxer Savannah Marshall, who was unable to make last night’s presentation, has also been formally recognised and will receive her glass award at a later date.

The world boxing champion, who attended English Martyrs School, narrowly missed out on a medal after losing to Kazakhstan’s Marina Volnova in a quarter-final bout.

Labour councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher, chair of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “The Olympics helped create a real buzz in Hartlepool.

“Here we have two young women who have shown Hartlepool in a good light and helped put the town on the map.

“We wish you every success for the future.”