By James Candy
PENARTH'S Olympic swimmer Ieuan Lloyd is desperate to make a splash on the big stage as he gears up for Commonwealth Games later this month.
The former Stanwell pupil is part of a 23-strong Wales swimming squad for the Glasgow showcase - and he believes it is time to back-up his junior success by clinching a place on the podium at Edinburgh’s Royal Commonwealth Pool on July 29.
Lloyd, who celebrated his 21st birthday yesterday, bagged a hat-trick of gold medals at the Junior Commonwealth Games in 2011, but is yet to repeat that success on the world stage.
The 6ft 4in swimmer, who will race for the 200 metre individual medley title, admitted the transition into senior competition has been difficult. But he believes his experience of competing in the 4x200m freestyle relay at London two years ago will boost his chances of bringing gold back to Penarth.
“The Commonwealth games are special for me, I am a proud Welshman and being able to represent Wales and Penarth and hopefully hear the national anthem would be really special,” said Lloyd.
“Without the Americans and the Chinese and the massive names it’s a big opportunity for me to step up and get a medal at Glasgow.
“The Olympic experience will hold me in good stead. It was something that I’d never experienced before.
“I walked out for the relay final, in London, to 17,000 cheering fans which put a huge smile on my face, I love big atmospheres and I hope it’s similar at the Commonwealths.
“For me so far my best days have been at the top of junior level and since then just making the teams at senior level. I competed at the world championships but couldn’t get past the semi-final, so for me, these Games are a great opportunity to get on the podium.
“We’re a small nation who are all close so if we can do something special this year it will be great.
“It was difficult for me going from the best at junior stage to not being anywhere near the top at senior level. But I’ve learnt a lot from that and I’ll use that up in Glasgow this year.
“At the end of last year I was ranked third in the Commonwealth in the 200m individual medley which is a good sign that I can do well.”
“There’s a big fan base amongst the smaller clubs in Wales, like Penarth, and they look up to big names like Jaz Carlin, Georgia Davies and myself.
“So it’s important for us to do well to inspire the younger generation to keep going and do well for Wales.”