Gemma Almond believes she can declare a case of job well done after reaching the 200m medley final at the London Paralympics, but insists the main event is yet to come.
The 19-year-old British record holder reached the final in fine style in yesterday’s morning heats, clocking 2:41.28, but in last night’s final she could only manage 2:42.16, trailing home in last place, one behind fellow Brit Harriet Lee.
All is not lost for Almond, from Shrewsbury, and she has a busy few days in store with the 100m butterfly to come tomorrow before she tackles the 100m and the 400m freestyle next week.
And while she was the first to admit she would have loved to posted a faster time in the final and challenged her British record, she is convinced the signs are good for the near – and long-term – future.
“The butterfly was a real positive in the morning heat and I’ve been working really hard on my freestyle, so that should be good as well,” said the former Meole Brace School and Shrewsbury Sixth Form College pupil, who suffers from bilateral hip dysplasia.
“I’ve been working on all of my strokes really. I moved to a new training programme in Swansea in September and things look very promising.”
In her 200m final, Almond wasn’t helped by being drawn in lane one but she also had to contend with New Zealand’s teen sensation Sophie Pascoe, who smashed the world record she had set in the heats to claim gold. And, while Almond conceded the occasion may have got the better of her, she is adamant she will not let lightning strike twice.
“It was a long day and I’m pleased with it, maybe not the time because I would have liked to have got close to my British record, but in terms of the atmosphere and the experience, it’s been fantastic,” she added.
“I’ve never competed on the world stage before and it was just great to reach the final.
“I’ve taken a lot of positives from it but maybe the heat and the occasion drained me a little bit.”