SWIMMING: Jazz is ready to Duel

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Jazz Carlin Jazz Carlin

WILTSHIRE swimmer Jazz Carlin believes the European team is in its best shape yet to take on the United States in this weekend's Duel in the Pool in Glasgow.

The 23-year-old was part of the side who slumped to a 185 to 78 defeat in the event in Manchester in 2009, with Team USA coming out on top again in 2011 in Atlanta.

But Carlin is confident the European Allstars will boast their most formidable line-up to date for what has been billed as the Ryder Cup of swimming in the city's Tollcross Centre today and Saturday.

She said: "The Europe team is one of the strongest we've had.

"I raced the Duel in the Pool in 2009 and we did get a bit of a beating then but with the team we've got now, I think we are definitely in with a fighting chance.

"I'm really excited to race. I just want to get stuck in and race. When you are up against the Americans, you always want to win."

Tollcross is also the swimming venue for the 2014 Commonwealth Games this coming summer.

Carlin added: "I've pre-qualified for the Commonwealth Games for Wales so it's amazing to just finally see the venue and that it's all coming together.

"It makes it feel a lot more real for the Commonwealth Games.

"I'm also really excited for Duel in the Pool as well and I think it's going to be a great competition."

On a personal note, Carlin feels like she is back on top form ahead of both this weekend's event and the Commonwealth Games following illness and the disappointment of failing to book her place at the London Olympics.

She set a new Welsh 800 metres freestyle record after winning her heat and finishing fourth overall in the European Short-Course Championship in Denmark last week.

Carlin said: "Not making London was a huge disappointment for me. It still hurts quite a lot thinking back to it.

"As an athlete nothing is guaranteed, you can't tell what's going to happen, whether you are going to get injury or illness. It's just out of your control.

"I've just got to focus on the future. There is still the chance of another Olympics and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games is always nice because it means I get to represent Wales, which doesn't happen very often.

"It's a very special competition for me."

She added: "I was at the European Short Course last week and I'm here this week and we are racing the best in the world, really.

"So that's what I'm coming for. I'm getting that race practice.

"When it comes to the Commonwealth Games, you've had all that practice and you're ready to go.

"You are not fazed by who you race against, you just go out there to do the best you can.

"I swam faster last week than I did this time last year so things are looking good and I'm just excited for this year.

"In Delhi, I came away with the silver and bronze so I am missing that one medal and I'm going to be doing everything I can to get it.

"I've definitely set my sights on it and I just have to get my head down in training and work as hard as I can."

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