A little over 12 months ago, Lizzie Simmonds told The Yorkshire Post that if she put her all into qualifying for the Commonwealth Games and didn’t make it, she would quit the sport.
It was not an idle threat. Beverley-born Simmonds, an Olympic finalist in Beijing and London, had been going backwards quicker than her backstroke would take her; losing funding and missing out on major championships either through performance or by being overlooked by selectors.
A move to a new training environment in Edinburgh was the last throw of the dice, as she admitted last Spring.
So imagine her delight at being on the Gold Coast this week, her career revived and her passion for the sport, rediscovered.
“The balance of being happy and training is such a fine line. If you’re miserable, you don’t swim well,” said Simmonds, 27, who won her 13th British title at last month’s championships.
“The reason for me wanting to continue and not stop was because I wanted to finish my career, whatever that timescale may be, on my terms.
“As an experienced athlete, I wanted to have a say and some responsibility over what I’m doing.
“Moving to Edinburgh has been a good move for me.”
Middlesbrough’s medley swimmer Aimee Willmott looks to build on the two silver medals she won in Glasgow four years ago, while Sheffield’s double Olympian Ellie Faulkner is back having won a relay bronze in 2014.
Her clubmate at the City of Sheffield, Rosie Rudin, makes her debut in the backstroke.
The reason for me wanting to continue and not stop was because I wanted to finish my career, whatever that timescale may be, on my terms.Lizzie Simmonds
There is no Max Litchfield in the England team due to injury, but his brother Joe, from Pontefract, steps up to senior competition, alongside another City of Sheffield swimmer Nick Grainger of Rotherham, a world relay gold medallist just 12 months ago.
Doncaster’s Jarvis Parkinson, 19, makes his debut at this level while Middlesbrough’s James Wilby won relay gold four years ago.