Anna Hopkin is leaping out of the pool and on to the plane for a new life in America – but the Chorley swimmer is adamant her journey to the Olympics is only just beginning.
The 22-year-old just missed out on a place in the final of the women’s 100m freestyle final at the European Swimming Championships last night, finishing off a fine season which has seen her make three international squads.
Next Friday, she is bidding goodbye to family and friends and heading for the University of Arkansas to study sports science but results this season have re-enforced her belief that she can cut it at the top.
“Before this year I had not made any teams and then this season I have made three teams so it is definitely a step up and it makes me want to make more teams and get better,” she said.
“I am moving to America next week for uni so I am hoping that a change in coaching and something a bit different might make me a bit better.
“I was not quite sure how I was going to carry on swimming after this year, what with having to fund it myself.
“I thought things would be quite difficult but now with a scholarship I don’t have to worry. It has only been in the last year or two that I have improved a lot and it is only in the last year that I have thought about finding somewhere to train properly.
“So now, I guess it is time to get my head down and work hard.”
Hopkin was certainly forced to work hard in the 100m semi-final, with the likes of world record holder Sarah Sjoestroem and former Olympic champion Federica Pellegrini in her heat.
But she fought hard, finishing eighth in a time of 55.15s to complete her weeks’ work. I think I swam it a lot better than this morning. I could have done a sub-55s so I am a little bit annoyed about that,” she added.
“In the heat, I kicked too hard and went too early and died at the end whereas there I glided into the finish and that cost me 0.1 or 0.2S.”
Over in Berlin, Preston pole vaulter Holly Bradshaw is into Thursday’s final after sailing through qualification, hitting a mark of 4.50m with her first jump to progress.
“I feel really confident,” said Bradshaw. “I was confident going into it and I didn’t know whether 4.50m or 4.55m would be enough but it felt good after my warm up.
“I opened at 4.50m and it was good enough, my jump was really sweet and I just couldn’t put a step wrong, so I’m very excited for the final now.”
Meanwhile, fellow Preston athlete Jamaine Coleman was unable to make it through round one of the men’s 3,000m steeplechase, agonisingly just three seconds and one place outside of qualifying.
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