Hartlepool and Wales swimmer Jemma Lowe looks for more success at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow


NEVER give in – you come back stronger after a setback.

They are the words of Jemma Lowe in an on-line Q & A on the Hartlepool swimmer.

And the 24-year-old Poolie will be looking to back up that statement with more success this week in Scotland.

J Lo is in Glasgow for her third Commonwealth Games after representing Wales – who she qualifies for through Welsh-born dad Mike – in Melbourne in 2006 and Delhi four years ago.

Lowe, aged 16, was a finalist in both the 100 and 200 metre butterfly events eight years ago, was just outside the medals in the 200 in India but clinched bronze in the 100.

And she admits there is “pressure” on her – from within – to emulate or better he tally from Delhi.

It is hard to back against Jemma, even if 2014 has been beset by injury problems.

Swimmers spend their lives ploughing up and down the pools, clocking up mile upon mile in their training programmes.

But Lowe – based at Bath University – had spent months doing little more than leg kicks in the water after being troubled by a stress fracture in her arm.

She did return to action with an encouraging performance at the British Gas International in Manchester.

Lowe clinched two medals at the competition – gold in the 200 metres butterfly and was silver in the 100 where she was edge out by Rachel Kelly, who will be in Glasgow this week in England colours.

“I want to get on the podium,” explained the two-time Olympian.

“I got bronze at the last Commonwealth Games, so it will be good to do that, or do even better.

“There is a bit of pressure because I’d like to improve on what I did last time.”

Despite those fitness issues it would be a brave person who bet against her.

She has to quote her own words “come back stronger” before.

After the 2008 Olympic Games did not go as well as she had hoped – she was sixth in the 100 final in Beijing – the former High Tunstall College of Science pupil went out to the University of Florida with the ambition of moving up to the next level.

The switch, despite helping her team to success in the National Collegiate Athletic Association and a trip to the White House, did not suit Lowe and she returned to Britain.

She returned in triumph, winning bronze at the 2010 Commonwealth Games before bringing home the 200 metres silver medal from the World Short Course Championships in Dubai.

Lowe reached both 100 and 200 butterfly finals at the World Championship in Shanghai in 2011 and then picked up silver medals in both events at the European Short Course Championships at the end of the year.

When British swimming was struggling at the London Olympics, Lowe provided one of the rare bright moments by finishing sixth in the 100 final and then continued her love of the Short Course events by winning two bronze medals at the worlds at the end of 2012.

And just to prove getting older was not slowing her down, in 2013 she collected her first national titles since 2008 with a 100-200 double at the British Gas Swimming Champs en route to her third World Championships in Barcelona.

There was a ninth medal in short course swimming after winning bronze at the European Championships back in December.

Lowe invariably delivers when it matters and dad Mike is hoping that will be the case again in Glasgow where he, wife Janet and daughter Naomi will be cheering on Jemma.

The campaign starts on Thursday morning at the Torcross International Swimming Centre in the 100 metres.

Her favoured 200 takes place on Monday with the sprint event, the 50 metres, sandwiched in between over the weekend.

“I think if you looked at it, you’d say that Jemma has a better chance in the 200 than the 100 but you never know,” said Mike.

“The way the competition has been set up is good for her.

“I think Jemma is happy the 100 comes first rather than the 200.

“She would probably like to focus fully on those two events but she is down to do the 50 as well.

“If she does well in the 100 then she might be buzzing and do OK in the 50.

“But you’d say the best she may do is getting to the final in the 50 because that is not her favoured distance.

“All the events are going to be competitive – there are seven or eight really top swimmers from Australia, Canada and the UK in Glasgow.

“But is unusual that Jemma doesn’t deliver – she’s been there or thereabouts in the championships and it would be great if she can be here.”