‘Getting noticed’: Swimming on the up in Manchester, says Fullalove ahead of inaugural international meet

Manchester’s Jessica Fullalove says she can’t wait to compete in her home town ahead of this weekend’s International Swim Meet.

The North West is set to welcome Rio hopefuls from across the world for its first meet at the Manchester Aquatics Centre this Saturday and Sunday.

With the Rio Olympics just 10 months away, this meeting offers British competitors a great chance to put a marker down ahead of the Olympic trials which will take place in Glasgow next April.

MM spoke to British swimmers Jessica Fullalove and Fran Halsall on their hopes for the weekend and what it means to have the event in Manchester.

Fullalove, who was born in Oldham, will compete in the 100 and 200m backstroke races and spoke of her excitement ahead of this weekend.

“It’s really good to have some home support and I’m really looking forward to this weekend,” she said.

“Manchester is such a great city for sport so to have that sporting environment around you and to have people come and watch from my home city is amazing.”

The 19-year-old reached the semi-finals in last year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and has previously won gold at World and European Junior Championships, but insists her focus now is on gaining Rio qualification.

“This weekend gives us a chance to put all our rehearsal into place so that when we come round to the Olympic trials we know exactly what we’re doing,” she said.

“It’s exciting to be around people that are on the British team as well because we all have the same goal.

“To get there I have to work hard; there are going to be a lot of ups and downs, but my main goal is to get there.

“I want to make the team for Rio – I want to be on that plane.”

Fullalove’s club, the City of Manchester Aquatics Swim Team, recently won club of the year at this year’s Manchester Sports Awards Ceremony and the Oldham athlete said what this means for the sport’s profile in the north.

“The city is starting to notice swimming more,” she said.

“There are a lot of sports teams and clubs in Manchester, so for us to be recognised was a really good achievement and I’m really proud.

“We are definitely trying to progress swimming as a sport in the north and in Manchester.”

British record holder Fran Halsall will compete in the 50m butterfly and the 100m freestyle this weekend and the Commonwealth Champion believes Manchester has a lot to offer.

“I love coming up here to race, the atmosphere on the poolside and in the stands is always amazing,” she said.

“My boyfriend lives up here and owns a coffee shop on Deansgate – Manchester is my second home.

“I love hanging out in the city, it’s a cool place to be and it’s very good for British sport.”

Image courtesy of Oldham Council via YouTube, with thanks.

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