Ready for Rio: Jazz Carlin

In the run-up to the Rio Olympic Games, ITV News speaks to four Olympic hopefuls in Team GB. In the latest in our series Ready for Rio, today we profile swimmer Jazz Carlin.

With medals won at every level of international competition over the last four years, Jazz Carlin is one of Team GB's brightest prospects for Rio 2016.

The Welsh swimmer won the Commonwealth, European and British titles over 800m Freestyle in 2014, before taking three domestic titles at the British Championships in London and 800m Freestyle bronze at the World Championships last year.

It is a run of success that started with a love of the pool from a very young age.

Swimming success "hasn't been the easiest of journeys", she says, as she remembers "smelling of chlorine in school" after early morning training sessions. But her love of competition kept her going.

"From a young age I always felt quite competitive when I was racing in the pool. It was always about seeing where other people were in the pool, it wasn't necessarily just focusing on my racing, it was just seeing where everyone else was and trying to win.

Jazz went to her first British national championships at the age of 11, but "wasn't the best swimmer in the pool".

Profile: Jazz Carlin

  • Born in Swindon on 17th September, 1990.

  • Moved to Swansea in 2006 and began training at the Wales National Pool.

  • Became the first Welsh swimmer in 80 years to win two medals at a Commonwealth Games by taking the 200m Freestyle silver and 400m Freestyle bronze in Delhi in 2010.

  • Won the Commonwealth, European and British titles over 800m Freestyle, as well as European and British gold and Commonwealth silver in the 400m Freestyle in 2014.

  • Won a bronze in the 800m Freestyle at the World Championships in Russia last year.

Missing out on London 2012

In 2011 Jazz found out she had glandular fever, which prevented her from qualifying for the 2012 Olympics in London.

She says it was "quite hard to swallow" at the time but she has "come out the other side stronger".

Jazz Carlin will be competing in her first Olympics in Rio. Credit: PA

"I was getting tonsillitis every two to three weeks and I would be in bed sleeping all weekend. Sometimes with illness and injury it's out of your control there's nothing you can do about it, so it was quite hard to take.

"I knew the Olympic trials were coming up and I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to go to the trials to see what I could do. I achieved the qualifying time to go but I came fourth and they only take the top two so I was pretty close to making the (London 2012) Olympics, but it was heartbreaking.

"It was a home Olympics, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity so for me it was quite hard to swallow, quite hard to take and it took me a lot to get back in the pool.

"I've come out the other side stronger, so I do feel very lucky that I'm on that Olympic team and I'm going to Rio."

Expectations for Rio

Jazz missed out on London 2012 after she was diagnosed with glandular fever in 2011. Credit: PA

Jazz said she isn't going to Rio "just to make up the numbers", but was coy on what her aims are.

"Obviously I've never been to an Olympics so it is a completely new experience. I'm not going to the Olympics just to make up the numbers, have a good time, I am going there because I want to perform at my best in Rio.

"Obviously I've got dreams, I've got goals that me and my coach set out and we like to keep those quite tight to our chests. I'm going to go there, give absolutely everything. Once I get on those blocks knowing that I've given absolutely everything then I'll have no regrets."