Head coach Mel Marshall ‘pumped’ for Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

Mel Marshall admits the Commonwealth Games gave her one of the best weeks of her life – and says she is ‘pumped’ for Birmingham 2022.

The Team England swimming head coach is a seven-time Commonwealth medallist and hopes to continue her ‘positive experience’ with the Games at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre.

Marshall said the competition had played a key role in her development as an athlete and believes it is the perfect event to help nurture new young talent on the international stage.

Ahead of the Games beginning today, Marshall said: “I am pumped for Birmingham.

“I’ve always had a really good positive experience with the Commonwealth Games. There is really healthy competition and there is a really good vibe – it’s a brilliant event really.

“There is also a large amount of respect, banter and fun amidst the nations so it’s definitely the friendly Games.

“The Commonwealth Games has always been a really big part of my development as an athlete.

“I went in 2002 to Manchester and then went to Melbourne which was an amazing experience, when I won six Commonwealth medals all in one Games.

“I just remember the week, every night packing your bag going to the event, getting your name on your hat, representing your country, walking out in front of that crowd – it was such a good crowd in Melbourne, a really knowledgable crowd in terms of the sport – and it was a brilliant week, probably one of the best weeks in my life.”

Great opportunity

Marshall, who performed the athletes’ oath at the opening ceremony, says she is determined to play her part in helping Team England’s swimmers ‘have the best Games ever’.

“I think it’s really important that when you look at the best Games ever, there’s lot of different strands to that,” she said.

“There’s the medal piece, there’s the experience piece, there’s the how much impact we have had on the communities and how much impact have we had on the next generation. 

“For me, as head coach, my job has a moral purpose, it has a business purpose and it has a performance purpose.

“I am committed to making sure we have the best Games ever on every level, both as people and as performers.

“This is a great opportunity to illuminate human beings to be the best version of themselves and what it is to represent the country – we have got a great group of people that I’m excited to work with.

“We are going to have to battle hard as we are up against some fierce competition but this is a really good place to land new talent and let new talent emerge – and it’s also a really good place to reset yourself on the way to Paris.

“Sport matters incredibly to this country – it always has done.

“It’s the only thing that gets you out of your seat in the living room and in the fields as such. It’s a big sporting event we have all been deprived of and, hopefully, we will just be able to bring sport home again.”