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Gray changes training base to aid Commonwealth charge
BUTTERFLY star Tilly Gray is to shift her base from Loughborough to Swansea as she cranks up her training drive ahead of next summer’s Commonwealth Games.
The 21-year-old will train alongside fellow Swindonian and triple British champion Jazz Carlin under world-renowned coach Bud McAllister, who guided US legend Janet Evans to four Olympic titles.
Gray attended a trial at Swansea ITC recently and having been offered a full-time place in the squad, felt that the opportunity was too good to miss.
“I’ve been at Loughborough about four years and for the last few months I’ve been thinking that I wanted a change,” she said.
“I’ve done really well in the uni squad but I want a step up in training and a bit more support.
“I did a trial in Swansea about a month ago and I really loved the training and being with the likes of Jazz and Georgia Davies.
“The atmosphere is great and they are really world-class athletes and I want to be amongst that now.
“They said I had a place on that squad if I wanted it and I thought I would be silly to turn it down.”
Like Carlin, Gray will compete under the Welsh banner in Glasgow next year having secured her qualification for the 200m fly at the US Open in July.
The former Swindon Dolphin swimmer - eligible for Wales through her grandmother - will begin training at Swansea on September 10 and she knows she will be seriously tested by McAllister, but says that the tough regime and background support will be ideal for her speed in the pool.
“There will be an increase in training and that can only help me get better,” said Gray.
“The new programme is going to be challenging and I just want to continue on an upward curve, because I don’t want to be sitting there in a few years thinking what might have been.
“There will be no hiding, but at the same time there will be lots more support than I’ve ever had, little things like physio and psychology will be taken care of.
“Before I had to support myself with those things but now I ‘ll be going to competition and my job will just be to swim.
“I certainly want to be making the final this time next year and I’d love to be contending for that medal.”
Gray is hoping to defer half of the final year of her sports science degree at Loughborough as she aims to fully focus on the Commonwealths.
That might not be the only major championship on the horizon as the Great Britain flyer is being considered for selection for the European Short Course Championships, which take place in Herning, Denmark in December.
“This season has already opened up so many doors,” said Gray, who will find out if she has been selected in mid-September.
“I’m being considered for lots of things is really nice and shows all my hard work is paying off. I hope they give me a chance because I know I can perform there.”
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