Lauren Cox gets Team GB call for World Aquatics Championships in Japan
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The 21-year-old from Leamington won a gold medal in the 50m backstroke at the British Championships in Sheffield last month, a display that has now seen her selected by Team GB for the Worlds which will take place in Fukuoka in the summer.
And having impressed whilst competing for England in last year’s Commonwealth Games, where she won two bronze medals, Cox says she’s now ready for the next step.
She said: “The Commonwealths were a great experience as I was up against elite swimmers and world record holders, which isn't always the case with all sports at those Games given the absence of the USA, among others.
"So that gave me a great idea as to how I was progressing and I know I can perform on the bigger stage.
"The only natural progress from that is the Worlds so I'm thrilled to be going and will be there as an underdog, which is fine by me because I’ll likely perform better without as much external pressure, only that which I put on myself.
"There are no expectations – I’ll be up against some really big names again and I want to see how far I can push them. My target is to reach the finals and go from there.”
Cox added that she feels she is in a no-lose situation in Japan given the huge experience she will gain, even if results don’t go her way.
She said: “I’ve only got things to gain there. Even if it doesn't go how I’d hoped, I’m still there and I always swim my best when I’m happy and relaxed so that’s how I’ll approach it.
"I get nervous of course but it's different to when you have the external pressure and expectation which at this stage isn’t something I need to worry about too much.”
Cox is now preparing for competitions in London and Rome that she sees as ‘markers’ for how she is shaping up for Japan, to where she will head on July 11 to a holding camp ahead of the Worlds which begin three days later.
Looking further ahead, Cox naturally hopes an Olympic place could follow in the future.
She said: “That's of course the aim with Paris only being next year but I feel I'm still young enough to have an eye on 2028 as well so I'll just aim to get the qualifying times and see how it goes.”