Welsh stars book their places for London
Gary Baker on 26/03/2012
It was the week of destiny for Wales' swimming stars as they experienced what could be at the brand new London Olympic Games pool.
And, at least for some swimmers, it was a time to celebrate. Penarth's Ieuan Lloyd, a member of the City of Cardiff club which has had, among its members, Welsh Commonwealth Games stars David Davies and Tom Haffield, has earned a place in the Olympic Games.
He is still only a teenager but secured a return to the Olympic pool for the biggest event of his life as part of the 4x200m relay squad.
Now, after finishing as a runner-up in the men's 200m freestyle at the British Gas British Championships and Olympic Trials, he can try again to land individual glory when the second and final Games Trials are held in June.
Lloyd said: "Iím just over the moon. To think that Iíve made the team and Iíll be going to the Olympics is such a great feeling. I made a good time in the semi and I was quite relaxed thinking that if I could put in the same performance again, I could make it.
ďWhen I walked out to poolside and they called my name it was an unbelievable feeling. The nerves kicked in a bit.
ďOn that last length I could see people around me and I gave it everything Ė my legs were burning.
ďThen I turned around and saw I didnít make the individual qualifying time. My dad had been telling me before the race that I had to come in the top four for a relay place but I wasnít sure. But Iím glad he was right.
ďIíve had so many text messages and Facebook messages. As soon as I was replying to one, I had another one through.
ďItís been such an amazing experience."
And Swansea's Georgia Davies started to celebrate almost straight away after she came home second in the women's 100m backstroke to claim her place in the Olympics.
She said: "I'm thrilled. I never even imagined I'd make the team. I would say I was speechless but I'm not - I'm just talking all the time.
"I'm just over the moon. The race just flew by in some big blur. I think i got a good start but I could feel the girls coming at me.
"I'm disappointed I didn't break the minute but hopefully that will come this summer. I was hoping I would go faster but it is just great."
And teenage star Ellie Simmonds, who trains under Billy Pye at the National Pool in Swansea, took no time in grabbing her place in this year's Paralympics by winning her 400m freestyle Multi Classification final on the first day of competition.
She said: ďIím really happy with the gold medal. The swim was good although it wasnít as good as I wanted it to be, I am happy with it.
ďIt was the first time racing in this pool, which is great practice. Iíve got the qualification time now as well so Iíll be going to the Paralympics, hopefully when I'm selected.
"I knew I could hit the qualification time quite easily but you always have that bit of pressure in the back of your head. You never know what is going to happen.
"I was a bit relaxed and nervous but getting the chance to race there was great. I had a race strategy with my coach to try my best and I think I did that.
"I want to now look at things I can improve on for the Paralympics."
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