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Freya Anderson admitted the packed Commonwealth Games schedule was starting to take its toll after securing her place in the final of the women’s 100m freestyle.
The 21-year-old from Birkenhead finished second in her semi-final heat behind Emma McKeon, with her qualifying time of 54.15 more than a second behind the Australian.
Anderson, who is one of over 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, has already claimed two silver medals at Birmingham 2022, helping England to 4x100m freestyle relay silver after also finishing second with the mixed 4x100m freestyle team.
She also picked up a bronze in the 4x200m freestyle relay before turning her attention to her individual ambitions, setting herself up for Tuesday’s 100m freestyle podium battle.
But the Wirral star said she has got to the stage where she needs to rely on her mental strength due to the relentless nature of the swimming at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre.
“It was ok, hopefully it did the job,” she said, when reflecting on her performance.
“I’ll take that time, I’m pretty pleased. It’s more the mental side than physical now, having a week this loaded. I think I’m coping quite well so I’ll just keep the ball rolling.
“You have to ignore what your body’s saying and try and not get too tired, even when your body is. I’m feeling it big time but you have to convince yourself it’s fine.”
While the jam-packed schedule is starting to weigh heavily on Anderson’s body, she said the support of the home fans at Birmingham 2022 is helping to get her through.
She added: “It’s amazing knowing most of the crowd are supporting Team England and knowing my family are in the crowd. That really helps when you start to feel tired.”
Anderson will be joined in the final by teammate Anna Hopkin, from Chorley, who finished third in her semi-final in a time of 53.96 ahead of Aussie duo Mollie O’Callaghan and Shayna Jack.
“I’m feeling a lot better after that than this morning,” she said. “This week’s starting to take its toll, I was definitely pretty tired this morning.
“I’m really proud of how I’ve come back and put in a pretty decent swim. I’ve got tomorrow morning to recover and hopefully come back faster tomorrow night.
“You just have to control your energy. With the late finishes, it is quite challenging and when you’re quite hyped up after racing, it’s hard to settle down and go to sleep.
“Even when you’re feeling deflated or low on energy, that crowd picks you up and gives you a bit extra. It’s special. That has given me a lot more confidence.
“It’s not my best but we’re coming to the end of a hard year and a long season so it’s about getting as much out of me as I can. I think I can go faster.”
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