TILLY Gray admitted that relief was her instant emotion after being confirmed as one of 39 swimmers set to represent England at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer.
The former Swindon Dolphin star, who won silver in the 200m fly at the British Championships last month, had to switch nationalities last year after qualifying for the Welsh Commonwealth squad, only to be informed she was ineligible.
Gray also had to cope with three changes of coach and three changes of training base over the past 12 months, as she hopped between Loughborough, Swansea and Bath, where she’s now settled.
So to be officially announced in the team yesterday, even if she’d known for a little while, was a big thrill.
She told the Advertiser: “Relief is the initial reaction at the moment, as you can imagine, but I’m honoured to be representing England. It’s just such a big achievement in my swimming career.
“To be part of a 39-strong team - and there are some amazing swimmers on there - is going to be great. It’s ultimately about how England do at that meeting and how we can get those medals. We’ve got a really promising team. There’s so much to look forward to and I think it’s all becoming so real.
“I’ve done a big media launch, about seven interviews, a big photo shoot and we’re going out with a bang. There’s so much attention on this event and I think that makes it more exciting.”
A month of cardio work will build up towards several weeks of pace training for Gray before she heads up to Scotland for the Games, which kick off on July 23 and last until August 3.
Given the turbulence of last year, she now feels settled and is hopeful of making an impact at the meeting.
She said: “I’ve got great preparation ahead, I’ve got an incredible coach and a great team, who I love to pieces, and there are nine other Team England swimmers in Bath. We’ve all got the same focus, same goal and I’ve got everything planned out and under control, so I’m really excited.”