TILLY Gray was on the ball more than most during last week’s ASA Nationals at Ponds Forge in Sheffield.
The former Commonweal pupil not only touched the wall first in the 100m butterfly, but having returned to her temporary barge accommodation near the venue, noticed organisers had given her the wrong trophy when she spotted the name of Swindon’s former breaststroke star, Jaime King, inscribed on it for a previous year.
It turned out that Gray had been given a 50m breaststroke gong she had never won, but after informing officials of the error, the 100m fly trophy was quickly located and handed to the Loughborough-based swimmer.
Gray also picked up bronze in the 200m fly and finished fifth in the 100m fly, an impressive few days’ work considering she had been out for 10 weeks with torn ankle ligaments prior to the competition.
“I’m really, really happy, it’s crazy,” she said. “I was so worried what I’d produce.
“I just didn’t really have any expectations of myself and I think that’s sometimes when I’m at my best.
“My main aim was to go there and work on my mental performance.
“I was absolutely amazed with the medals I’ve got and it was a great achievement after the last 10 weeks.
“I was really happy to make podium in the 200m because I didn’t think I had enough training behind me.
“I really would have loved a silver medal but that would have been quite unrealistic.
“While the medals are fantastic, my biggest achievement was to be mentally tough.
“You do get doubts in your mind about your performance, because you hear what times people are doing in the pool and it does throw you off.
“It only matters when the championships come round.
“People do play mind games but it’s about putting that to the back of your mind, that’s just part of being an athlete.”
Gray could next be bound for Youth Nationals at Ponds Forge in July, before heading to US Nationals in Indiana at the start of August.