England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland have all won medals in the pool at Birmingham 2022. Now it is up to a 19-year-old from Porthmadog to help Wales join the party.
Medi Harris made two finals at the World Championships in Budapest last month and could earn her first medal at senior level after qualifying third fastest for the final of the 100m backstroke.
Anything more than a bronze would be an incredible achievement, considering the only two women quicker than her are Australia’s reigning Olympic champion Kaylee McKeown and two-time world champion Kylie Masse of Canada.
And the opportunity to race against the world’s best backstroke swimmers is driving Harris on.
She said: “I’m really happy, it was a really strong swim. Hopefully I’ll be able to move it on in the final and hopefully get on the podium.
“They (McKeown and Masse) are both really nice girls and they race such a good race, they are the best in the world. So I’m really honoured and proud to be able say that I am somewhat on their level because I’m racing against them.”
Harris’ rise has been rapid, with some stunning performances at the British trials earning her an unexpected place in the team that went to the Worlds.
And she has carried that form back to Birmingham, with the passionate crowds not just reserving their support for English athletes.
She added: “It’s so good here, you can tell that everyone has love for the home nations, when you walk it’s just a massive cheer, I’ve never experienced it before so it’s really good to know that there are loads of people behind you and the ones at home as well.
“Touch wood, I’m not saying anything, I’m just happy to be in the final. If you had told me a year ago that I would be competing at the Commonwealth Games, let alone trying to get a medal, I’d have told you to go away!”
Elsewhere Matt Richards had a busy evening including finishing fifth in the 200m freestyle, a final dominated by Brits as Scotland’s Duncan Scott edged out England’s Olympic champion Tom Dean.
Richards was then part of the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay that finished fourth, alongside Dan Jones, Tom Carswell and Callum Jarvis, who also came seventh in the 200m free behind Richards.
Harriet Jones had to settle for sixth in the final of the 100m butterfly, while Lewis Fraser was eighth in the 50m fly.
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