Final countdown for swimming star Jemma Lowe at Olympics


JEMMA Lowe begins her quest for Olympic glory aiming for a place in the 200m butterfly final as a minimum achievement.

However, the 22-year-old will guard against complacency during Tuesday’s heats given her experience of four years ago.

It was in the same event in Beijing that Lowe narrowly missed out on the final, finishing ninth overall.

But the Hartlepool-born star goes into these Games ranked fifth in the world and in confident mood having qualified for this summer’s showcase with a silver medal at the British Swimming Championships in March.

“The dream, of course, is to win gold,” said the former High Tunstall and English Martyrs Sixth Form college form pupil.

“I qualified at the first trials so I have had a long time to focus on the Games and make sure I’m ready to give myself the best possible chance.

“Getting to the final is the first job and that is what I’m concentrating on now.

“I just missed out four years ago so I know how that disappointment feels.

“But you can only win a medal if you’re in the final so that has to be the minimum I’m aiming for.

“I just can’t wait to get going now.”

Lowe eventually returned from China with a sixth in the 100m butterfly, announcing her arrival on the world swimming stage.

She is one of the fancied competitors going into these games but knows that the competition will be fierce.

China’s Liuyang Jio is the current world champion and her team-mate Zige Liu the world-record holder.

Britain’s Ellen Gandy has had the edge over Lowe of late and is at No.4 in the world, while third-ranked Natsumi Hoshi has swam the fastest time this year.

“I know how difficult it will be to get a medal, but once you’re in the final then anything can happen,” said Lowe.

“I hope that I can swim my fastest-ever time and if I can do that then we’ll have to see where that improvement takes me.”

Both the 200m butterfly heats and semi-finals take place on Tuesday at the Aquatic Centre, with the final on Wednesday evening.