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South Lincs Competitive Club swimmer Emma Croker takes part in the Olympics trials at the London Aquatics Centre

South Lincs Competitive Club swimmer Emma Croker defied the odds to post her third fastest ever long course time at the prestigious Olympic trials over the weekend.

Croker was flying the flag for the club at the London Aquatics Centre and swam her 50m freestyle on the final day of the competition.

She finished her race in 27.42 seconds to secure 16th spot at the event where she rubbed shoulders with some of the greats of British swimming despite missing out on Olympic selection.

Emma Croker who attended the Olympic trials at the London Aquatics Centre.
Emma Croker who attended the Olympic trials at the London Aquatics Centre.

The trials are the pinnacle competition in every four year cycle for swimming and were staged following the postponement of the Tokyo Games to this summer.

Due to the Covid pandemic, this year’s selection trials were a much scaled down affair with only swimmers within 10 percent of the Olympic qualifying time standards permitted to compete.

This meant that there were no more than three heats or 24 swimmers in each event.

Croker was accepted into the selection trials in her favoured 50m freestyle event and was one of only two Lincolnshire swimmers to qualify for the competition.

The whole event was organised as a bubble with swimmers only permitted to be in their hotel rooms or at the pool or moving between these two venues.

Numerous Covid tests had to be completed by swimmers and coaches alike in order to avoid bringing the virus into the bubble.

At just 15 years of age, Emma was among the youngest swimmers participating at the event and she acquitted herself admirably in light of the difficult circumstances.

Away from home with just her coach and having to spend five days in the bubble before racing her 50m freestyle, Croker acted with great maturity and was not phased as she undertook training sessions alongside the likes of Adam Peaty, Duncan Scott and Freya Anderson.

She was also hampered by the fact that she has been out of the water and her training programme for three months due to the national lockdown.

Emma had the opportunity to train only from March 29 when she was able to get back in the water at outdoor pools at Woodhall Spa and the Peterborough Lido.

Coach Keith Haynes said: “Emma has had an exceptional learning experience over the week, in terms of managing her environment and her daily activities in very restrictive circumstances.

“She has only had two weeks of preparation for the biggest swim of her life and has gained invaluable experience at the highest level of swimming.

“It is back to training and our regular programme now as we look to help Emma make further improvements and use this experience as a stepping stone to bigger and better things in her career.”

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