COMPETING at an Olympic Games or for a senior Great Britain team is an ambition that's in the sights of swimmer Emma Russell.

This week, the talented 17-year-old former Woodmill High School pupil, now competing with the University of Stirling, will have the chance to rub shoulders with other hopefuls at the British Swimming Selection Trials.

Taking place at the London Aquatics Centre, which hosted swimming at the 2012 London Olympics, the meet, which began yesterday (Wednesday) and concludes on Sunday, has been rebranded from the British Swimming Championships for 2021, with athletes competing to be named in either the European Championship or Olympic teams.

Emma, who was named as the 2019 Dunfermline and West Fife Sports Council Sports Personality of the Year, sponsored by the Press, in February last year for her achievements in the pool, is one of those and it is a challenge that she is relishing.

Having returned to competition for the first time in a year at last month's British Swimming Invitation Meet in Manchester – where she competed with Britain's elite swimmers and para-swimmers, setting a Scottish national age group record in the 50 metres freestyle, and a further three PBs – she is heading into the competition in a good frame of mind.

And, while making it to the greatest stage of them all is the ultimate goal in her blossoming swimming career, one of Scotland's brightest talents in the pool believes that there will be opportunities to aim for beyond this summer's Tokyo Games.

"I'm looking forward to that; hopefully, I'll be ready to race at that point, give it a good go, hopefully get some PBs and race the girls there," she told Press Sport before the trials.

"I'm quite young and there's a lot of fast freestyle girls in Britain. Obviously, I'd love to go to an Olympics or make a senior team but I'm just going to continue to work hard in training and try and race my hardest and see where it takes me. If not, because I'm so young, I've got loads of opportunities in the future, hopefully.

"It would be amazing to go – and everyone who's there would want to make an Olympic team – but I think I know I am training my hardest just now. I will try my hardest to race and just go for it.

"Hopefully, it takes me where I want to go at some point.

"I've got time but I think at any point it would be amazing to make a senior team. I'm just going to keep working hard and see how it goes, and obviously put pressure on myself, but not be like, 'I'm going to make this' and stuff like that, because I feel like then that never works out. I don't want to jinx myself!

"As long as I'm training my hardest, and I'm trying my best at all times, then I know I've done the best that I can do and I've still got things to come hopefully, which is positive."

Reflecting on the invitation meet, Emma said she felt "really lucky" to be involved, and hoped that it would make those swimmers across the country who are yet to resume competition eager to make their own return to the pool competitively.

"I got all PBs in the races that I did; just really small PBs but they're still PBs," she continued.

"I felt quite happy with them and it's the first time racing properly in about a year, to the day almost. I think the last time I'd raced at a proper long course competition was in March 2020. Sometimes I got a bit nervous because of that; it was weird to be back in but really exciting.

"There were a lot of nervous and anxious feelings but, once I got in, I felt quite good and it was a good prep meet for trials.

"Hopefully, by then I can be at my best. It was really good and really nice, even from a distance, seeing people you've not seen in like a year. It was really nice to see them and race against people you've not raced in a while.

"Everyone seemed to feel they were privileged and lucky, and I think that's quite important that we all felt we were quite grateful to be back racing."

Sessions at the British Swimming Selection Trials will be streamed live on British Swimming's YouTube channel.