PERSHORE swimming star Tazmin Pugh is relishing the coming weeks as she prepares to head off to Samoa to represent England at the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games.
The 15-year-old, who used to swim for Pershore SC but now represents Ellesmere College Titans having been awarded a swimming scholarship at the Shropshire school, set the 15-year 50m butterfly British record at the prestigious British Summer Nationals and is now ranked first in Britain for her age group.
Earlier this year Pugh represented England at the Energy Standard Four Nations International in Italy, where she won four medals – three gold and one silver.
Since breaking her first Regional Junior record seven months ago, she now holds ten regional records and one senior record and is clearly in fine form as she prepares to head to Oceania.
Pugh was also ranked third in Europe in her age group in the 200m butterfly following her performance in May’s British Senior Championships.
She said: “I am quite nervous with it being my first Commonwealth Youth Games and being so far away from home, but I am also really looking forward to the experience.
“I am expecting to make new friends and can’t wait to mix with all the different athletes and compete against some extremely talented young swimmers from across the world.
“I have had a lot of support from Team England, we all have, and we are delighted with our kit. I really can’t wait to get over there and settle into camp.
“Being on an international stage in a multi-sport environment is a massive learning curve so I need to make sure I focus, as it will prove vital for my progression as an athlete.”
The fifth Commonwealth Youth Games will take place in the Samoan capital city of Apia. England has attended all previous Commonwealth Youth Games, always finishing in the top three nations.
Around 1,000 athletes aged between 14 and 18 will be competing for 107 gold medals in nine sports over five days of competition in Samoa and Team England’s travelling delegation includes 60 athletes representing eight sports – archery, athletics, boxing, lawn bowls, rugby 7s, squash, swimming and weightlifting – plus coaching and support staff.
Some of England’s highest profile sports stars have appeared at the Commonwealth Youth Games including Jessica Ennis-Hill, Beth Tweddle, Danny Cipriani, Zoe Smith and James DeGale and the Games have provided a number of England’s emerging talent with their first exposure to an international, multi-sport environment.
Tazmin Pugh’s Samoa schedule: 50m butterfly – women; 100m butterfly – women; 200m butterfly – women; 100m backstroke – women; 200m backstroke – women; 200m individual medley – women; 400m individual medley – women; 800m freestyle – women; 4x100m freestyle relay – women; 4x100m medley relay – women; 4x200m freestyle relay – women.