Cassie Wild is falling back in love with swimming this summer

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Swimming - Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games - Women's 50m Backstroke - Heats - Optus Aquatic Centre - Gold Coast, Australia - April 9, 2018. Cassie Wild of Scotland. REUTERS/David Gray (David Gray / reuters)
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Edinburgh's Cassie Wild struggled with her mental health off the back of 2021 and has since been on a journey to reclaim her love of the sport.

The 22-year-old swimmer will take to the pool in Birmingham for her second Commonwealth Games after bouncing back from a tough season.

Wild won silver in the 200m Backstroke at the 2021 European Aquatics Championships before competing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

But a packed few month of excitement and improvement eventually went south as she faced several obstacles that made her question her place in the pool.

Wild has now bounced back ahead of the Birmingham Games and is feeling back to her confident self.

With the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games set to inspire people and communities across the country this summer, Wild hopes sharing her story will give others motivation to get involved in sport and turn their dreams into reality.

Wild is one of over than 1,100 elite athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing them to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science, and medical support.

She said: "I feel like more recently it's starting to come together.

"This season it's been quite tough, coming off the back of the Olympics I have struggled. I didn't take a massive break because of the International Swimming League and then it was illness, injury and I felt like there was quite a lot of setbacks.

"I wasn't just physically struggling then; I think mentally it was quite challenging for me as well. I just felt like I was in a very bad place.

"Now I feel that I'm out of that, but my confidence was so low, and I had to try and build that up.

"I kept thinking about what I was doing this time last year and how last year was really good for me.

"It's taking small wins and even though trials didn't go how I wanted it to, I've done a few competitions since then and gone faster than trials.

"Part of me still thinks that I'm still not where I want it to be, but I can't think like that. I have to change my way of thinking this year and realise this is where I'm at now and take it from there."

This summer, Team Scotland, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, will compromise of over 250 athletes, and having secured her place on the squad, Wild is looking for medal success.

Wild was catapulted onto the 200m Backstroke stage with her European silver after previously favouring the sprint events.

The Olympian dropped a second and a half off her personal best in the final to claim second behind Italy's Margherita Panziera.

Wild said: "The time was quite a shock to drop that much but everyone said that I was going to be a good 200 swimmer because my stroke was suited to that.

"And I have known that, even a 50 which is a fun event, with my slow stroke I found it really hard for me to get up and going.

"So, I am starting to learn more about my race plan and how I need to swim it and at these types of meets now get some experience.

"It's definitely the hardest in my programme which is why I avoided it but when I dropped that time I thought, I'm going to have to do more of these."

Wild will head into Birmingham ready to compete after missing out on World Aquatics Championships selection and the backstroker is excited to be back on Team Scotland and to relish swimming once again.

She said: "I'm really looking forward to it. I think because I was 17 last time, everyone was saying it's just to learn from the experience and that was the first senior team I was at.

"Now obviously I've done Europeans and Olympics since then so I'm really looking forward to racing and having my family there.

"I want to make all the finals for my events and do that for Team Scotland but I'm just trying to get back to myself as a swimmer.

"This is the most excited I've been for swimming this season and to do it with Team Scotland, it's brought me that excitement back for the sport."

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