There was no hiding Alys Thomas’ disappointment as she missed out on a place in the final in a frustrating first evening of swimming for Wales at Birmingham 2022.
At the Sandwell Aquatics Centre there were medals for Scotland, England and Northern Ireland – the latter’s first-ever in the pool – but Wales have not yet broken their duck.
That was not necessarily a huge surprise considering the medals available, but Thomas missing out on the final of the 100m butterfly was a frustration, tempered somewhat by seeing teammate Harriet Jones get through.
She said: “I'm a little bit pissed off really, but it is what it is. I'm happy for Harriet to have made it through so we've got some Welsh representation in the final. That's great for her.
“Myself, I'm a little bit disappointed. I've been a bit quicker this season already, only marginally. I'm hard on myself anyway - I'd hope to get closer than that to be honest.
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“I thought it was in me today, in fact I know it's in me. I need to go back and have a little look. Silver lining is that there's an extra rest day before the 200. I've got the 50 in there to just keep me in the race environment. I'm not expecting much from the 50 but it's just there to keep me going and start looking forward to the 200 now.”
The 200m is the priority for Thomas, having won the event four years ago in the Gold Coast. That came in front of a partisan Australian crowd, and while this is not quite a home meet for Thomas, it is as close as it gets.
She added: “I'm excited for the 200m because that's my main event and that's what I train for. The 100 and the 50s are little spices to add to the mix, little things to keep me going.
“My parents are in the crowd tonight. There are a couple from our squad back home who have come up to watch us, it's really great and there's a little friends and family bunch of them up there which is so nice, especially after the last two years. It's that wall of noise and it reminds you, this is what it's meant to be like and how much we've missed it.
"Just then walking out, there was a massive roar just for me. For once it makes a change just to hear a bigger roar for me than there is the Australians! It's a really big boost, I just want to squeeze as many chances as I can out of that.”
Elsewhere Daniel Jervis had to settle for eighth place in the final of the 400m freestyle, albeit not his preferred event.
And even that was impressive considering the disruption he has faced coming into the Games.
He said: “I was a bit anxious coming into today. I had Covid two weeks ago so I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel but it was good.
“I’m actually in a really good place. The crowd, even though we are in England, it’s basically a home Games for us. My aim for these Games is to have a bit of fun. My main race is at the end of the week.
“It has been tough. Sometimes you have to acknowledge that things don’t go the way you want them to. I can put my head on the pillow every night and say I did everything I could to avoid the situation and I did for two years. It could have been worse, I could have had it now. We’re athletes, we’re built for this.”
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