LUCY HOPE may not be a household name unlike some of her fellow Team Scotland swimmers but she was that stand-out performer at the British Swimming Championships in Edinburgh last weekend.

The 21-year-old came away with two British titles, winning gold in the 50m backstroke and the 50m freestyle and in the process, she outshone her better known compatriots such as Hannah Miley, Duncan Scott, Dan Wallace and Ross Murdoch.

Hope was visibly delighted with her performance over the four days of competition in the capital’s Royal Commonwealth Pool but what was also encouraging, she revealed, was that she was up against many of the swimmers who she will face at the Commonwealth Games in just a few weeks time. “It feels good to be British champion – to come away with two British titles is amazing and great achievement for me,” said the University of Edinburgh swimmer.

“What’s been good is that a lot of the English and Welsh girls who I’ll be up against at the Commonwealth Games were here so it’s been great to race some of them and see where they’re at. It felt like a long meet but I’m pleased with how it’s gone. And I’m feeling confident going into Gold Coast.”

Gold Coast 2018 will be Hope’s second Commonwealth Games having been a part of the relay squad at Glasgow 2014 and she admits that with a hard block of training behind her, she could not be in better form. “I was in Tenerife in January for some warm-weather training and that was great,” she said. “I’ve been training right through since last summer so I’m really dying to have a rest now.

“I feel like I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in. My technique and my strokes are better than they’ve ever been and how I’m putting my races together is also better than ever before so we’ll see how fast I can swim with some rest.”

Hope was part of both the 100m and the 200m freestyle relay teams that made finals in Glasgow 2014 but with four years more experience under her belt now, her expectations are much increased for Gold Coast. She is undertaking a heavy schedule but that is, she says, the way she likes it. “Obviously I’d love to medal,” she said. “But I’m going to take it one round at a time. I’ll be racing every day out there but I actually think having that many races is good because I feel like the more I do, the better I get.

“I’ll go out there knowing that I’m going to be at the pool every single day and I’ll get into a rhythm of hopefully swimming fast. I might be tired by the end of it but I’m looking forward to it.”

With world-class athletes including Olympic medallists included in the Scottish swimming squad that will travel to Gold Coast, it has a real chance of contributing significantly to Team Scotland’s medal tally. Hope is well aware that the 25-strong squad could return home with a hefty medal haul and she admits that the strength-in-depth across the board pushes each and every one of them on to bigger and better things. “This is a smaller team than Glasgow so I’d say that it’s more quality than quantity,” she said.

“It’s such a strong squad – our boys in particular are very strong and the 4x2 are looking like they should definitely medal and they could even get gold. We all feel a part of the success, even when it’s other people doing well – the atmosphere within the team is amazing and other people’s success really pushes you on.

If we can get a couple of medals on day one, that would really lift the team for the rest of the Games.”