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History bid on Carlin’s mind on the road to Tokyo

by ZwemZa on October 7th, 2017
Jazz Carlin

Jazz Carlin

Double Olympic medallist Jazz Carlin’s bid for history will begin in earnest next week as she prepares to become the first female swimmer to win open water and pool medals at the same Games.

The 27-year-old took an extended rest after securing two silver medals in Rio last year, only just making her return with Tokyo 2020 on the horizon.

But for Carlin, this journey to the Olympiad will be rather different to most – starting with next week’s Chun’An 10km World Cup in China.

Never before has a woman taken glory in both swimming disciplines, with Tunisia’s Oussama Mellouli the only male to complete the feat, at London 2012.

But that’s what the Welsh swimmer is bidding for in three years’ time, looking to follow her Brazil success in the 400m and 800m freestyle by also taking to the water for the 10km marathon swimming and potentially the new women’s 1500m event.

And while already looking to the future, Carlin admits it’s the past that still takes some getting used to as the two extra bits of her Rio luggage continue to sink in.

“I’d just be walking to the shops and someone would shout ‘well done at the Olympics, Jazz!’ which was a bit of a shock as you just almost forget about it,” she said.

“People would keep asking ‘what next?’ and I wasn’t sure. Rio had only just happened and I wasn’t ready to think about Tokyo.

“People think I’m crazy and ask if you get punched (in the open water). I’m terrified of jellyfish as well, but it’s all new and a really fresh test.

“The danger with training for the longer distances is you can lose the speed you need for the shorter ones.

“I think I have a really great opportunity to be a part of open water and still try and get on that pool team, and it’s quite exciting to think that you could make history in an event.

“I’m very happy with two silvers, but you know it’s Tokyo and why not go for gold, hey? I’m a bit greedy I guess.”

Despite her ambition, this desire had not always been on Carlin’s mind, taking a year out of the sport post-Rio which also included sitting out of the World Championships.

But now she is preparing for a triumphant return in China on 15 October before competing over the same distance in the Hong Kong leg of the World Cup series six days later.

And while her love of the sport may have waivered, the only way is forward for a now revitalised Welsh star, with the Commonwealth Games in April next year also on the horizon.

“At times winning the two medals doesn’t feel real – it was the best experience of my life, but then I realised it was over,” added Carlin, who missed out on her home Games five years ago.

“People talk about the post-Olympic-blues, but until you’ve been there and gone through it you don’t understand.

“Ever since missing London 2012, reaching Rio had been my focus; I just wasn’t prepared for how much it was going to take out of me and I felt a bit lost after.

“It was really tough sitting out of the Worlds and then watching it on TV. It was the right decision, though, as I now feel a lot more alive. I have so much more energy, am refreshed and it’ll help me in the long-run for sure.”

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