LUCY Worrall has returned from her first senior Great Britain event determined to be a part of the Olympic programme for the future, writes ALEC DOYLE.

At the European Short Course Championships in Rijeka, Croatia, the 16-year-old from Vicars Cross joined Olympic open water medallists Keri-Anne Payne and Cassie Patten for her first experience of senior competition and declared she wanted more.

Despite not winning any medals she did qualify for the final of the 800m freestyle, where she came 14th in a two-legged timed final, and kept improving her personal bests throughout the competition.

British swimming is more competitive than ever after the exploits of Payne and Patten and double gold medallist Rebecca Adlington, as their achievements have shown the younger generation what can be achieved.

Lucy, who is a team-mate of Payne and Patten’s at Stockport Metro, said: “I have met Rebecca at meetings and I know Kerri-Ann and Cassie from Stockport. They are normal people, not much older than me, and they can win Olympic medals.

“Everyone involved in British swimming at the moment is on a high and we all want to reach and beat the standards set in Beijing.

“A lot of people in world swimming were surprised by Britain after years of no success, but we are aiming to do even better at London.”

And former Chester Catholic High pupil Lucy may be a part of that team. Already on the lowest rung of funding from UK Sport, when the London Olympics come around she will be 20 years old – one year older than Adlington was in Beijing.

She has already moved to Stockport to study sports science at Stockport College and lives with a Metro team-mate just five minutes from the Grand Central pools where the team train.

“I’m focusing more on my swimming now,” she said. “Plus it is easier for my mum and dad, who don’t have to drive me to and from Stockport to train before they go to work.

“It paid off in Croatia as I got into some finals and I can see how much I am improving and what I need to do.

“Stockport is one of five intensive training centres for British swimming and I get all the support I need to help me make my dream of being selected for the Olympic team a reality.”