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Team England’s Jay Lelliott hails his local club after Commonwealths call-up

With a home Commonwealth Games just around the corner, we take a look at the athletes who will be competing for Team England this summer.

Sheffield swimmer Jay Lelliott hailed his City of Sheffield club as ‘phenomenal’ after he was announced as part of Team England for this summer’s Commonwealth Games.

Lelliott, who started swimming at age eleven, was full of praise for the club he moved to in 2017 saying: “They’ve been phenomenal.

“I train in Sheffield with the City of Sheffield swim squad and they’ve helped me so much to get me to where I am.

“My coaches there, my trainer Dan Cocking and the support staff as well, have all really helped to bring something better out of me.

“The sports psychologists, the nutritionist Laura Sandford and my strength and conditioning coach, they’ve all been phenomenal to help me get to this point.”

Lelliott believes that the support he’s had has made everything feel easy for him, adding: “Swimming is an individual sport but it’s also the team.

“Everyone is always on your side when you show up to a race or go training when you are from a support club like that.

“The atmosphere in the club has been designed to bring out the best in us completely and also so we can support each other to get that out of us.

“That’s what’s been really fun about this last season because it just made the early mornings and the hard sessions really easy.”

“I’m looking forward to having them on my side”

Lelliott, who competed at Commonwealth games in Glasgow back in 2014, finishing fourth as part of the 4x200m Freestyle Relay and sixth in the 1500m, is looking forward to having the backing of a home crowd in Birmingham.

“It will be very exciting,” he said. “I’ve had a little bit of experience of it when I was at the European’s in Glasgow in 2018 and the Commonwealth Games in 2014 too.

“I will never forget the Scottish crowd in 2014, the atmosphere was something I had never experienced anything like that and I’m so excited for that coming back for this part of my swimming journey.

“I’m looking forward to having them on my side.”

Looking forward to the event, Lelliott says that he’s training hard and is going to make sure he’s in the best position possible to make an impact.

He added: “I would love to be in a position to be able to medal but I never like to put a goal on it because I believe all you can do is turn up in the best shape possible and do what you can.

“That’s my mind-set going in – I’m going to make sure I’m in the best shape physically that I can be and hopefully that will be enough.

“I’ve got the most confidence in myself that I ever have and I’m really looking forward to showing that.”

Career turning point

Lelliott, who missed out at the Olympic trials in 2021 by one second in the 200m Butterfly, has struggled with a shoulder injury for the start of the season and is relieved to have made it to this summer’s Games.

On his selection, he said: “There’s a bit of relief and there’s also a lot of pride I guess because at the start of the season I went through a couple of injury woes.

“I had a tendinopathy that took me out for a couple of months, that took me all the way to December. So getting to trials was a celebration, making the team was the joy and now I’m just so excited to move on and see where I go from here.”

Despite his recent injury woes, Lelliott worked hard to learn from them and turn them into positives.

He said: “For a long time, I did look at my downs as downs – now I kind of see my career as ups and things that I have now learnt from.

“For a long time, I really didn’t learn from them but I still drew on the heartbreak and the experiences where things haven’t quite gone to plan.

“Now I try to put them as right as I physically can and learn from them.

“Without those mistakes, I wouldn’t be the swimmer I am today, so it’s been a big effort.

“I now do athlete mentoring and I think that’s one of the things that makes me really well equipped to do that because I haven’t just experienced the good times, I’ve experienced the lows too, so I can speak about a variety of different things.

“It’s what makes me so passionate about everything that I do.”

See Team England’s full swimming squad here.