BLACKBURN swimmer Josh Walsh insists he heads into the BUCS Gatorade Nationals with the 2014 Commonwealth Games firmly at the forefront of his mind.
Despite missing out on a spot at London 2012, Walsh has gone from strength to strength in the pool and travelled to Barcelona last summer for the World Championships – helping Great Britain finish eighth in the 4x200m freestyle relay.
But the 22-year-old will be hoping to repeat his performance of the 2011 nationals when he left clutching three freestyle swimming gold medals.
And while he admits he is aiming to climb the top step of the podium once again, Walsh is also hoping to lay down a marker ahead of the trials for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
“I am looking forward to racing and it is a good chance to see what kind of shape I am in,” said Walsh, who attends the University of Stirling.
“Back in 2011, I won the BUCS in the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle events and my aim for this year is to again finish on the podium.
“Being only one month away from (the Commonwealth Games) trials, I would be expecting to race relatively quick.
“If I can perform to how I believe I can next month then I would like to think that I can get on that Commonwealth team.
“The chance to represent my country matters a massive amount to me. It is what I have been training for since I started swimming. It is a massive honour and there is no greater feeling.”
Walsh heads into the competition as arguably the man to beat, having finished fourth at the 2013 British Championships in the 200m freestyle.
And he admits that the heartache of missing out on the London Olympics the summer before is still driving him forward.
“I was unfortunate in 2012 not to get into the London Olympics team which is obviously a huge aim for every swimmer,” he added.
“An Olympics only comes around once every four years so that is always in the back of a swimmer’s mind.
“I would like to have another crack of getting on that team. My times are steadily improving and I am on the right track.”
Gatorade is the exclusive nutrition and hydration partner to British Universities & Colleges Sports and headline sponsor of the BUCS Gatorade Nationals. BUCS and Gatorade work together to educate student athletes on the importance of sports nutrition and hydration – visit: www.bucs.org.uk/gatorade