A big hello to all the swim fans out there, I hope you're looking forward to the summer of sport that is just around the corner with some big international competitions on the horizon.
I've had the privilege of working with the swimming team since my retirement and its exciting time for British swimming; lots of young athletes are now coming through to their peak so it will be a hard-fought battle in the pool this summer.
Having competed at many international competitions, I understand what all of the swimmers will be feeling - excitement, anticipation and a sense of nervousness.
A great athlete will be able to turn these emotions into positive factors and with strong teams across each of the nations it will be a closely fought race! I've picked out a few swimmers from each country that I think will be ones to watch for this summer:
Adam Peaty (England)
I have the pleasure of knowing Adam. We did a 500k bike ride across Africa in 4 days in 2012. When I got to know Adam I knew he was going to have a fantastic swimming career. He is so driven, passionate and dedicated. He's coached by ex-swimmer Melanie Marshall who had an amazing career herself. Together they are such an incredible team and that has shown in Adam's performances this year. Men's breastroke is the strongest event in Britain right now so Adam has got his work cut out for him but if anyone can do it, it's him.
Siobhan-Marie O'Connor (England)
I have loved watching Siobhan's career grow from her debut at the Olympics at just 16, to making her first senior final last year at the World Championships. She has the best start and skills in Britain in my opinion. 2014 will see her compete in events she's never raced before, like the Women's 200m Freestyle, which is really exciting.
Ross Murdoch (Scotland)
Ross is an amazing newcomer on the scene who has already made a name for himself. He is definitely one to watch this summer but also in the build up to Rio 2016. He broke the British Record on the 50m breaststroke in Tollcross and is also the fastest Brit on the 100m breaststroke.
Michael Jamieson (Scotland)
Michael had a tough year last year due to injury, but he's one of the best racers I have ever seen. He posted the fastest time in the world this year and I know he's hungry for success this summer. It's great for the younger guys coming up in the sport to have someone as experienced as Michael on the team, so they have someone to look up to but also someone they can have a laugh with!
Jazz Carlin (Wales)
I can't wait to see Jazz in action this summer. She's had a few tough years of illness and missed out at London 2012. However, she had a fantastic meet at the British Gas Championships to put herself ranked number 1 in the world so far this year. It will be interesting to see how she gets on with her coach Bud moving to Australia and having a bit of a shake-up in her programme. She's so lovely and with her amazing attitude and work ethic, I'm sure this year is Jazz's year.
Tom Haffield (Wales)
Tom has been on the swimming circuit for many years and 2014 will be his third Commonwealth Games, which is an incredible achievement. He will be swimming the 400m IM, which is one of the hardest events both physically and mentally. He is still British Record holder from 2009 but he missed out on London 2012 and swimming in front of a home crowd, so I know he can't wait to soak up the atmosphere.
If you're anything like me, just watching the swimmers in the pool will have you itching to get back in the water so if you're feeling inspired, why not sign up for SwimBritain, this summer's team relay swim challenge?
British Gas launched SwimBritain in 2013 with the aim of getting more people swimming more regularly. This year it returns with team relay events taking place at venues nationwide throughout September. I'll be taking part again this year and would love to see as many people as possible signing up and giving it a go.
You can find out more by visiting swimbritain.co.uk or following @BGSwimming and Facebook.com/BGSwimming.
I look forward to seeing you there!
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