TILLY Gray says the no-pressure scenario of racing abroad should help her perform to her best at US Nationals.
The former Swindon Dolphin swimmer was due to begin her campaign in the 200m butterfly preliminaries at Indianapolis, Indiana in the early hours of this morning.
She will also compete in the 100m fly on Thursday and the 200m freestyle, her weakest event of the three, on Friday.
International swimmers are permitted to compete at US Nationals, which effectively functions as a B-grade meet behind the Olympics.
Gray will compete under the Swim Wales banner and her belief is that she can relax in an unfamiliar atmosphere.
“I really want to enjoy it because whenever we race nationals and trials in the UK, there’s so much pressure to get picked for teams and you’re in front of your home crowd,” she said.
“I don’t normally panic but I get very stressed about what will happen if someone beats me. There’s a lot of pride in Britain and you’re very protective of yourself.
“Now I’m in front of people I’ve never raced in front of before and it’s going to be great international experience.
“That’s something I’d like to get more of and it will be nice to go away and swim abroad.”
Gray trained at Bath ITC for a fortnight before heading out to Indiana, having headed home from Loughborough University.
And she revealed her hopes for the meet in Indiana were to refine her race technique.
“I’m going to try different race tactics, I sometimes don’t know how to go about things under pressure,” she said.
“I normally go out like a lunatic and hold on for dear life, but I think that kind of screws me up a bit.
“It’s mainly just about how I race and I’d love to hit PB form, but I’m not aiming for a gold medal or anything.
“The 200m fly is first up, which is quite unusual because the 100m is normally first.
“I wanted to ease in after all the travelling.
“My 200m free isn’t great so if I’m not too pleased with the 200m fly, then I’ll just do the 100m fly instead of the freestyle.”