Commonwealth Games glory for Buxton swim ace Abbie Wood with four medals in Birmingham

Buxton swim ace Abbie Wood proudly came away from the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham with four medals, writes James Toney.

Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 7:55 am
Updated Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 7:55 am

But the 23-year-old admits she needs to get used to having crowds back in to watch again.

The return of fans to sport has been one of the many positive things about these Games with the Sandwell Aquatic Centre packed to the rafter each night.

But Wood admits the noise takes some getting used too.

Bronze medalist Abbie Wood after the Women's 200m Individual Medley Final.

She made her breakthrough in an International Swimming League season staged behind closed doors and competed at the Tokyo Olympics last year without fans in the stands, where she finished 11 hundredths off a medal in a lifetime best.

In Birmingham, after two relay silvers and one bronze, Wood finished third in the women's 200m medley final on Monday, clocking 2:10.68 to finish just behind Australia's Kaylee McKeown and Canadian gold medallist Summer McIntosh.

“I feel such a weight lifted off my shoulders,” she said.

“After the season I’ve had, I’m really happy with that and it’s a sigh of relief.

“I didn’t feel pressure from anyone intentionally but I had my family here. It has been a good step for my confidence that I can do it without a crowd.

“It’s a season’s best, I couldn’t ask for any more after such a hard cycle post-Olympics. Fourth there hit me so to get it together for this week, I’m really happy.

“It was pretty much go-go-go after the Olympics so I’m definitely having a nice break after this, celebrating with my family.”

Wood did also reach the Women’s 200m Breaststroke final after finishing third in her heat as sixth fastest, but elected not to race the final and concentrate on the next day's medley.

“Sometimes you have to make decisions and my breaststroke wasn’t on it this morning so I didn’t feel it was worth sacrificing the relay as it could have made the difference,” she said.

“I had the medley next day so I had to be smart.

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