The milestone of it now being ‘Two Years to Go’ until the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games is an important one for me as it encourages me to look forward instead of back.
A few weeks ago I had the second Olympic trials to fill the remaining places in the GB Swimming team. I was very disappointed not to make it.
I had a very disappointing meet overall and was pretty devastated, pretty gutted, but then I had a chat with my coach who told me the only way to react to missing out on London 2012 is to bounce back from it.
I can use it as a motivation to go on to the next Olympics and with Glasgow 2014 around the corner, as well.
I went to Edinburgh for the Scottish nationals a week later and swam a time there that would have got me onto the London 2012 team.
It proved to me that all my training hadn’t been for nothing and I know now what mistakes not to make again. I know it was more mental than physical why I didn’t perform as I wanted to.
In training I had been going well. Physically I was in the right shape, it was mentally on the night that I didn’t have a good race.
I was really nervous before the race. The heats in the morning had gone well so I took confidence from that, but it was still such a huge event. If results had stood from the first trials I was in the team so it was my place to lose effectively which meant there was a lot of pressure.
It was David Carry, a fellow Scot, who got the place instead so there was no bitterness there. I was really happy for him and hope the team goes out and wins. I’ll still be watching and will support them 100 per cent. I hope that they do the country proud.
For a few days afterwards I did beat myself up about it, but I sat down with a sports psychologist to talk it through and I’ll be doing a lot more work with him next season. I want to do performances which justify the training I put in. I didn’t think, until the Scottish nationals, I had a performance which reflected the work I have done.
It’s about getting myself back up and moving forward again to Glasgow 2014. With this season coming to an end I can now focus my sights on Glasgow.
I took part in a photocall recently to announce Dell as the latest sponsor of Glasgow 2014. That made me feel a part of things and it was great to meet the children involved in the shoot.
I was proud of what I achieved in Delhi and have great memories of that. To know it’s in Glasgow is exciting, it’s going to amazing, and there’s a huge incentive to do well in a home Games.
There will be a similar pressure, but I will be ready for it. I think I will be able to deal with it then. It’s going to be the number priority over the next two years to get my mental state much better and not to get so nervous ahead of massive races. Once that is sorted out I’ll be firing on all cylinders and should be swimming really well.
I want nerves to be a positive rather than something that drags me down. Every season that passes I get more experience under my belt. You have to deal with disappointments as much as you do euphoric moments. When it comes down to my next race, I’ll be able to use my trials experience for the good.
The likes of Robbie Renwick and David Carry are all very supportive of young swimmers coming through. They appreciate that in trying to catch them I’m making them better.
My parents have been supportive, as well. They were more gutted than I was I think at the fact I didn’t make London 2012. I was the one telling them it wasn’t the end of the world. Rio 2016 was always a more realistic target for me and will be the Olympic Games when I will be at my peak.
London 2012 was only ever going to serve as an experience for me. I only thought about it latterly. It would have been an unbelievable experience, but I have got Glasgow to come.
I have a lot of happy memories of Delhi, it was a life-changing experience to go there. I always believed we could medal in the freestyle relay. The other guys were telling me calm down, ‘it’s not as easy as that’, but when Robbie touched the wall in second it was an amazing feeling.
I sometimes get the silver medal out just for motivation and to remember the feeling. The Commonwealth Games is special because you get to compete for Scotland. It’s got a homely feel to it even when it’s not as local as Glasgow.
I’ve swam at Tollcross for a long time. To see it transformed into a world-class facility will be something pretty special. I will be in a comfort zone in terms of how familiar I am with the venue. There will be no surprises and no holding back.
I do a lot of visualising with my sports psychologist. He tells me to ‘live the moment before it happens’. I tried it for the second trials, but it didn’t make it easier. I’ve been there and done it with Scotland and Delhi, however, so by Glasgow I will feel I’ve been there and done it.
I already feel stronger for the experience of not making London 2012. I maybe put it too high up as a priority. I need to realise it’s not absolutely everything to reduce the pressure and just relax. It’s kind of odd, when you think it’s not that a big a deal, you swim better.
For London to be out of the way already for me personally, it’s Glasgow all the way now and with ‘Two Years to Go’ I can’t wait.”