Sheffield swimmer Ellie Faulkner admits she is using this week’s BUCS Gatorade Nationals as a spot of fine tuning - with April’s British Championships firmly at the forefront of her mind.
The City of Sheffield ace will be swimming the 200m and 800m freestyle events in her home pool of Ponds Forge at the BUCS Gatorade Nationals, which kickstarts today.
And the former Westbourne and All Saints Catholic High School student is hoping to use the Nationals to judge her form ahead of the British Championships in two months time.
The Championships double up as trials for England’s Commonwealth Games swimming squad and take place in the same pool Faulkner hopes to compete in this summer in Glasgow.
And the 21-year-old can’t help but let her mind wander on beyond this weekend as she looks to make 2014 a memorable year.
“The BUCS Gatorade Nationals are one of the events that we tend to use as a run-up meet before the trials,” Faulkner said.
“It’s always good to get in the long course events, especially after having the short course season just before Christmas.
“There are certain aspects of my race that I’ll be focusing on throughout the weekend but it’s more or less just a weekend to try and improve on those skills so I can put down a good time at the trials.
“It’s a chance for me to see the sort of form I’m in going into the trials. I can go in and see what’s going to happen and make sure that I keep hold of those skills and put them forward into trials.”
Sheffield Hallam, Faulkner’s university, could only finish seventh in the overall swimming rankings at last year’s BUCS Gatorade National, but she is adamant they can improve at this year’s event.
And the London Olympian believes the championships are a great experience for student athletes who may not go on to compete at the highest level.
“I think Sheffield Hallam have got some good chances for medals,” Faulkner added. “Some of the new guys in their first year at uni have been doing well and it’s a great opportunity for them to get stuck in as well before the trials.
“The BUCS championships are a great opportunity for students to get stuck into a sport at any level. You just need to make sure that you are willing to give up quite a bit of your time to training to get on to those teams.
“It’s a great opportunity if you might not be able to make it at a professional level to just get stuck in and enjoy yourself while being part of a team. It gives you an insight into what an elite sport environment is like.”
n Gatorade is the exclusive nutrition and hydration partner to British Universities & Colleges Sports and headline sponsor of the BUCS Gatorade Nationals. BUCS and Gatorade work together to promote the importance of sports nutrition and hydration. Visit www.bucs.org.uk/gatorade for more information.