WILTSHIRE’S Jazz Carlin wasn’t scoffing at a second medal in as many nights on Tuesday, despite just missing out on another gold in Glasgow.
Instead, she insisted it was further justification that she is turning into a world-class competitor.
The 23-year-old was denied the chance to add women’s 400m freestyle gold to the 800m freestyle title she had earned just 24 hours beforehand as she finished second at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre on Tuesday night.
It took a Commonwealth Games record from New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle to keep Carlin at bay.
Boyle’s winning time of 4:04.47 minutes was just 0.69 seconds ahead of Carlin, representing Wales.
After that silver, the former Wootton Bassett School pupil she said she and her country had exceeded expectations, despite a punishing schedule in Glasgow.
“It was tough for me with the distance events being back-to-back,” said Carlin.
“You don’t race on back-to-back days in any other event than the Commonwealth Games, so it was tough – I’m not 16 anymore, I can’t recover like I used to.
“It’s hard to recover and I didn’t get much sleep (on Monday night), so it was about making sure I could get back up for the final in the evening.
“I was feeling a bit tired so to come away with another medal; I can’t complain.”
“(On Monday), it was a relief that all the training paid off and to come away with a gold medal was everything I’d ever dreamed of.
“I’ve put everything into this season so to come away with gold was amazing and then to top it off with silver means that I can’t complain.
“It’s amazing that Georgia (Davies) has come away with two medals and shows that we’re really coming along in the pool.
“I’m so lucky that Sport Wales helped me with my recovery for (Tuesday) so moving forward, I can enjoy this for a while.”
Two years ago, an untimely bout of glandular fever put paid to Carlin’s chances of making the London 2012 Olympics, with the Wiltshire ace forced to tearfully watch the action from her sofa.
But she made up for Olympic heartbreak by etching her name in the Welsh history books with the first of her two medals in Glasgow.
“I believe I’m the first Welsh woman in 40 years to win gold in the pool and I got emotional seeing the Welsh flag,” she added.
“My family are amazing – they’ve travelled to watch and my little cousins have ‘Go Jazz’ on their tops.
“The support has been overwhelming and it’s nice for them to be here to celebrate with me.”
Carlin won’t have much time to let her success settle, however, as she turns her attention to the European Championships, which take place between August 13-24 in Berlin.
She insists once her selection is confirmed, her head will be firmly focused on winning more medals.
“The European Championships are coming up in August and I’m just waiting for my selection to be confirmed at the end of the week,” she added.
“I’ll be training for that and then I’ll have a nice summer break and take this all in.”
Laura surprised by Games success
LAURA Halford hardly expected one medal from the Commonwealth Games let alone three – but she insists she must capitalise on her surprise success as quickly as possible.
Halford enjoyed three glorious days in the rhythmic gymnastics arena at the Hydro in Glasgow, first winning team silver with Wales and then claiming double bronze individually.
The 18-year-old was third in the individual all-around final a day after her team success on Thursday and then on Saturday managed to claw another bronze in the individual ball final.
Halford competed in three finals on the closing day – also fifth in the hoop and eighth in the ribbon – and she now wants her medal haul to mean something to others as well her as herself.
“I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like going back home,” she said.
“I hope lots of new children are inspired to train and start rhythmic gymnastics.
“It is not a popular sport at all so for more people to get interested in it is amazing. It was just really great.
“I was pleased just to get to the finals and to get a medal in the ball was just incredible. It’s hard to put into words how amazing this experience has been.
“I’ve exceeded all my expectations. I now know that I can compete in these huge arenas and in front of the big crowds.
“And that gives me so much confidence for the future, the whole Games
for me and Team Wales has been incredible.”
As of Sunday morning rhythmic gymnastics had contributed eight of Wales’s medals so far at the Commonwealth Games – Halford with two individually, Frankie Jones with five and also their team success.
Jones, flagbearer for Wales during the opening ceremony on Wednesday, claimed gold in the ribbon final in which Halford finished eighth and there was nothing but pride from teammate to teammate.
“I am just so proud of her. She’s been training with me for two years and she has been through so much,” Halford added.
“She’s so pleased just to be at these Games so for her to do so well is just incredible. She’s inspiring so many younger children and she’s inspiring me as well.”
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