Lucy Hope knows Paris Olympics could be her last as Scot makes 'fastest ever' swim target

-Credit: (Image: PA)
-Credit: (Image: PA)

Lucy Hope knows time waits for nobody in the swimming pool - that’s why she’s desperate to post a personal best when she takes the plunge in Paris. At 27 the Scot accepts this could be her last Olympics.

But there’s no way she’s heading across the channel expecting to be left behind by the young guns.

Hope is part of a seven-strong University of Stirling swimming contingent in Team GB heading to prep camp in the next few days ahead of the start of the Games in just over two weeks’ time.

Her targets are simple. She wants to swim the fastest she has ever swam. And if that’s good enough to land a first ever Olympic medal then all the better.

The relay specialist - a seven time European gold medallist - is a key member of the 4x200m freestyle team that includes individual world champion Freya Colbert.

And she told Record Sport: “I think Paris potentially could be my last Olympics. I’m getting a bit old now at 27 - it’s because everyone else is so young!

“The way we train, we’ve been at such a high level for so long, so I will re-evaluate after Paris and see where I am.

“Don’t get me wrong, I definitely won’t be saying I’ll be retiring after Paris. There’s more in me.

“But four years is quite a while to wait for the next Olympics.

“So heading to Paris, I just want to swim the fastest I have ever swam.

“Swim best times and hopefully if, as a team, we can put four good performances together then maybe we could challenge for a medal.

“Last year we had a target of breaking the British record in the 4x200m. The girls who hold that are very good swimmers. It’ll be a challenge but a good one.”

Hope made her Olympic debut in Tokyo three years ago but admits the so-called ‘Covid Games’ didn’t quite hit the mark with no spectators allowed in.

It didn’t help that the Jedburgh ace contracted the virus in the build-up to the event meaning she missed the prep camp and was whizzed straight into action on her return to health.

And with mum Catriona, dad Brian and sister Emma heading to Paris she’s desperate to feel the Olympic buzz for real.

She said: “I got covid at the kitting out event the last time. I had 10 days out the water.

“There was a redirection in travel you could say! I went out a bit later and went straight into the village.

“There were a lot of challenges at the last Olympics so I’m getting ready to enjoy this one a bit more. The crowd, the atmosphere, it’s just going to be next level.

“We want to use the energy from the crowd and harness that.

“My mum, dad and sister are coming out for a couple of days which is exciting.

“They never made it to Tokyo - we had the other swimmers and team mates and media to support us and we had to use that to try and create a crowd.

“But it will be next level this year.

“All the families are quite close in Team GB so I think they will be having some good nights in the build-up!”