sport

O'Connor feels expectation

Teenager Siobhan-Marie O'Connor admits she will be carrying expectation on her shoulders at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer.

The 18-year-old, from Bath, was named on Wednesday in a 39-strong England swimming team for the Games, when collective medal hopes will be high.

O'Connor was the youngest British swimming team member at London 2012, aged just 16, but she believes that Glasgow 2014 will be a different kettle of fish.

"Before, there wasn't so much expectation, but this year I have definitely had that expectation," O'Connor said, during a break in training at the University of Bath.

"When I qualified for London, I didn't really think it had been a possibility. It was a real shock and surprise. There wasn't that much expectation on me there.

"But now I am not the youngest on the team any more. I've been on a few teams, I have goals and there are things I want to achieve.

"There is expectation, but most of it is from myself. I want to go and do as well as I think I can.

"You learn different things every day. It's such a tough sport, but the rewards are so amazing. If you put in the work and strive to be the best you can be, then you do get a lot out of it."

O'Connor showcased her undoubted talent during the recent British Championships, winning the 200m individual medley and 200m individual freestyle, and she will be a major medal contender in Glasgow.

"I was really happy with the British Championships," she added.

"Everything fell into place beforehand, but it is just a stepping stone. I want to be able to back it up in Glasgow in the summer.

"We do have a big medal expectation. We've got some great swimmers on the team, and I think it should be a really good meet for us."

Fran Halsall, who won five medals at the Delhi Commonwealth Games four years ago, heads up the England group, when she will be joined by the likes of Paralympic champion Ollie Hynd, double Commonwealth champion Liam Tancock, as well as a large number of athletes who will experience a Commonwealth Games for the first time in Glasgow.

Halsall will be aiming to add to her collection of seven Commonwealth medals when she lines up for what will be her third Commonwealth Games.

"It's great to be going to another Commonwealth Games as part of Team England," the 24-year-old said.

"I'm sure Glasgow will put on a fantastic show and these Games will continue to be a good experience for me.

"I've swam quite fast at this event previously, and I will be looking to improve on that. It's going to be another good marker two years out from the next Olympics. It'll show where we are, how we're doing and how you deal with a multi-sport games environment."

Paralympic champion Hynd hopes the crowds will show the same level of support which athletes experienced in London two years ago.

"I am really excited to be competing at my first Commonwealth Games," Hynd said. "I'm sure the crowd will be loud and really reminiscent of London, which will be great. I really want to complete my medal set with a good performance in Glasgow.

"I think competing for England is a massive honour, and I really hope I can do everyone proud when I get on to the blocks in Glasgow. It will be difficult with strong Australian challengers, but I will put my all in."

England team:

Women: Aimee Willmott, Amelia Maughan, Amy Smith, Danielle Lowe, Eleanor Faulkner, Eleanor Sheridan, Elizabeth Simmonds, Francesca Halsall, Jessica Fullalove, Jessica Lloyd, Lauren Quigley, Molly Renshaw, Rachael Kelly, Rebecca Turner, Siobhan-Marie O'Connor, Sophie Allen, Sophie Taylor, Tilly Gray, Stephanie Slater.

Men: Adam Barrett, Adam Brown, Adam Peaty, Andrew Willis, Benjamin Proud, Chris Walker-Hebborn, Daniel Fogg, James Disney-May, James Guy, James Wilby, Jay Lelliott, Joseph Roebuck, Joshua Walsh, Lewis Coleman, Liam Tancock, Max Litchfield, Nicholas Grainger, Roberto Pavoni, Thomas Hamer, Oliver Hynd.