British Championships: Jazz Carlin and Georgia Davies set sights on Budapest

Jazz Carlin
Jazz Carlin moved to Swansea to train in 2006

Welsh swimming's golden girls, Jazz Carlin and Georgia Davies, are ready to start another campaign this week.

Carlin might have become a double Olympic silver medallist in Rio last year, but just like anyone else this week she has to book a place in the World Championships which take place in Budapest in July.

The Commonwealth and European champion competes at the six-day British Championships in Sheffield which start on Tuesday, 18 April.

Along with Welsh rising star Chloe Tutton, Carlin and Davies have various Olympic, Commonwealth, European and World Championships appearances between them, but the hard work has to start all over again.

"It is about getting a place on the team for the World Championships," said Carlin.

"I am looking for some good races. When you are racing the best in Britain you want on to put a good race and it's tough competition."

Ambitions still burn brightly

Carlin was crowned European and Commonwealth champion in 2014, and two silver medals in the 400m and 800m, behind American sensation Katie Ledecky, ensured she achieved an Olympic dream.

Carlin is now planning how to follow on from the most memorable year of her career in Rio and at the age of 26, with 11 years of swimming on the international stage behind her, it seems her appetite for success remains undiminished.

"I spoke to some other athletes who said they knew they were done as they weren't enjoying it anymore," reflected Carlin.

"I never had that. That never came across my mind. I still enjoy what I do, love competing and racing. That has always had a big part in my heart.

"It's still tough getting up early for training and de-icing the car and diving into a freezing pool, but it makes it all worth it the end when you have the highs."

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A training day with Jazz Carlin

Gold Coast beckons

The long-term goal after the World Championships is a fourth Commonwealth Games on Australia's Gold Coast next April after her previous appearances in Melbourne, Delhi and Glasgow.

Two medals in India in 2010 were followed by two more in Glasgow, which included an 800m freestyle gold.

"The prize of a fourth Commonwealth Games was always a driving force," said Carlin.

"That has always had a big part in my heart, the Commonwealths was the start of my career.

"I missed out on London 2012 Olympics, so Glasgow felt like the home Games I never had."

Carlin was joined on the top step of the podium in Glasgow by fellow Welsh swimmer Davies who won the 50m backstroke.

"I have fond memories of the Commonwealths," said Davies.

"It is the one time I have a chance (to swim for) for Wales on an international stage which is my favourite thing and I am so passionate about that.

"Maybe other people don't see it as the ultimate thing to do with the Olympics and the World Champs slightly higher up, but I love it."

Davies, also 26, reached the semi-final of the 100m backstroke in Rio and was part of the 4x100m medley relay squad which reached the final. She also has not considered quitting.

"It wasn't always the intention to carry on (after Rio) but I didn't want to go into the Olympics thinking this would be my last ever swim," Davies added.

"That would have added extra pressure. When I went to Rio and swam a personal best time, I couldn't leave the sport when I love what I do and am still improving."

Georgia Davies
Despite missing out on funding, Georgia Davies is determined to make it a successful season in the pool

Funding gap

This is despite Davies not being included for funding by British Swimming which also happened after the London 2012 Olympics.

The Swansea swimmer, who has spent part of the off season training in Turkey, was philosophical about her funding exclusion.

"Funding is a big support when it comes to having pay your mortgage," said Davies.

"You need money to get by and support your training.

"But I don't swim for money. I never have and don't think many people do.

"It's not known to be a big earning sport. We do it because we love it and want to be as good as we can be."

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