FOR most secondary school pupils, the summer break signals holidays, relaxation and spending time with their pals.

But, for Woodmill High swim star Emma Russell, rising at 4am to continue preparations for an event she describes as “probably the biggest competition I have to face” has been the story of her time out of the classroom so far.

And the 14-year-old, who competes with the Heart of Midlothian Swimming Club in Edinburgh, is hoping her dedication and early starts will see her race from the start line to new PBs and British finals.

Emma, who earlier this year won a 200 metre freestyle bronze while representing Scotland’s Youth Development Squad at the Geneva International Challenge, is in the final stages of training before travelling to Sheffield for the British Summer Championships.

The prestigious competition, which begins on Tuesday and takes place over six days, brings together the country’s top age group swimmers based on their national ranking.

This year will be the second time that the talented Dunfermline teen has raced at the meet, having marked her first 12 months ago with a brilliant bronze in the girls 14-16 years 4x100m medley relay.

After racing in two individual events in 2017 Emma – who at the start of the month was crowned the Scottish Open junior 100m freestyle champion – will take to the pool in seven events this time.

“I’ve got the 50, 100, 200 and 400 free, the 50 and 100 fly, and the 200 IM (individual medley),” she told Press Sport.

“I’m targeting making some finals, especially in the 100 and 200 free, because they’re my main events along with the 50 fly.

“I’m going to try and get some PBs but it’s about the experience mainly, to see what the competition is like, which will help me towards next year.

“The British is probably the biggest competition I have to face, so there’s a lot of pressure, but it’s good pressure because I know I can do well.

“I’ve been hitting PBs and improving from last year, and getting to competitions I’ve never been to before, like the Edinburgh International Swim Meet that incorporated the British Championships.

“My training has been quite tough getting ready for the British and I’m having to train for seven events rather than two, so I’ve been balancing training for each stroke.”

Emma added: “At the Scottish Open 2-3 weekends ago, I got to three finals and was the 100 free Scottish junior champion.

“I was really pleased. It was a bit unexpected but meant a lot, and prepares me a bit for the British because there were some English girls in my heat.

“Our times were similar and showed me what I need to do to win.”