Daniel Jervis and his Swim Wales teammates have been forced to overcome bumps in the road on their journey to the Commonwealth Games, but he is ready to soak in every second when he dives into action on day one.
The Resolven distance specialist will be one of the first Welsh athletes to feature at the Games when he competes in the 400m freestyle alongside Kieran Bird today. After being side lined from training with COVID two weeks ago, he has had to make up for lost time in his bid to add a gold medal to the silver and bronze he won in Glasgow and Gold Coast respecitively.
Dan will have his family and friends roaring him on at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre, and his only aim is to enjoy every moment.
“It’s so exciting to be here in Birmingham, they’ve done a fantastic job with the village and I think Wales will have a great Games,” he said. “It’s as close to home as I’ve ever been for a Games and it’s so exciting. The pool is beautiful; the atmosphere will be insane.
“I’ve never gone into a race not wanting to win it so the aim for this Games is to win, but everyone’s preparation has been different – I know mine has.
“We’ve had hurdles coming into this meet, it’s been a pretty turbulent few weeks, but it’s my job as an athlete to be prepared for this stuff. My aim for this Games is to just enjoy myself, the reason I swim is because I enjoy it. I love this sport and have so much respect for the people in this sport and I want to have fun, because I always swim better when I’m having fun.”
Dan, alongside Kieran, will kick-off the aquatic action before Lewis Fraser and Tom Carswell take centre stage in the 50m freestyle heats. Joe Small and Liam White will then get their first taste of the Commonwealth Games in the 100m backstroke heats before Commonwealth gold medallist Alys Thomas and Tokyo Olympian Harriet Jones feature in the 100m butterfly. Kyle Booth will race in the final individual swim of the session in the 200m breaststroke heats, before a selection of our athletes join forces in the mixed 4x100m freestyle relay heats.
For Dan Jervis, the 400m freestyle will provide him with the opportunity to get acquainted with the red-hot atmosphere Sandwell promises to provide ahead of his bid for 1500m glory later this week.
“Kieran is a fantastic athlete and a 400m specialist”, he added. “It will be more of a warmup for me, I don’t train for 400m as my main event is the 1500m, but I’ll still go in with high expectations and to enjoy myself.
There is no pressure on me, I want to go and have fun but I want to make that final as well. The pool is phenomenal and when you walk out for a final, if you’ve got a lane, anything can happen.
“My aim is to swim as fast as I can, I’ve got 30 lengths of that pool and my aim is to touch the wall first, that’s my job. As long as I get the process right and I’m in the right headspace, there isn’t too much that could go wrong.
“I’m very fortunate to have a lot of family members and friends here to support me, it’s a home games for me and I know it’ll be loud when I walk out.”