Aimee Willmott Blog: The Commonwealth Games are here

READY TO GO: Aimee Willmott will compete in the heats of the 400 Individual Medley at the Commonwealth Games tomorrow morning

READY TO GO: Aimee Willmott will compete in the heats of the 400 Individual Medley at the Commonwealth Games tomorrow morning

First published in Sport

TONIGHT marks the official start of the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, with the opening ceremony taking place at Celtic Park.

Nearly 4,500 athletes from 71 nations will be welcomed by a crowd of 40,000 people and an expected 1 billion people watching around the world on TV. This is it, it's show time!

Sadly for me though, I will not be able to enjoy it as much as everyone else as the swimming events start early tomorrow morning, so by 9 o’clock tonight, I’ll be flat out and asleep ready for racing.

I will be racing in the first event tomorrow at 10am, which is the 400m Individual Medley Heats, and hopefully followed at 7pm for the finals.

The medley, or IM as it is known, consists of swimming four different strokes in one race - 100m butterfly, 100m backstroke, 100m breaststroke and 100m freestyle. It's a really tough endurance race, but is also my strongest and favourite, so I do hope to be bringing home a medal. This will be my first of five events, so I have a very busy schedule over the course of the week.

The Northern Echo: The North East's Aimee Willmott was in action in the pool and Paul Drinkhall in table tennis

After spending a week at the holding camp in London, where we tweaked any last-minute training, I arrived at the athletes village along with the rest of the English swim team on Sunday. It is AMAZING!

From arriving in the village, until I went to sleep on Sunday night, I had a permanent smile on my face. There is something about entering a village that I absolutely love. It must be because all the athletes are there to do the same job and get the job done well. You can really tell that no matter where you are.

A big part of the village are the relaxing areas. There are places where you can have a game of pool, play air hockey, and just chill out, relax, and take your mind off things. It's one thing to be race prepared and focused, but you cannot just pace the floor between training or racing, otherwise you might combust.

I try to do anything to keep calm and relaxed before competition and take my mind off things for a couple of hours a day - just like I’d be doing if I was at home. The biggest place in the village is the dining hall. Every single athlete staying in the village eats breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper all under one roof, so you can imagine how busy it can be.

There are food counters all around the outside serving food from all around the world, from spices to the good old English grill. It really is impressive, but you have to take your willpower with you into the dining hall otherwise you could end up with something which obviously isn’t the perfect food choice before a race day. You'll be pleased to know though that I've been extremely good!

Team England are staying together in one section of the village, and the team leaders have done a fabulous job of decorating the team area with flags and inspiring quotes, and have really created a 'team' atmosphere. It really is great to be part of Team England and I know the whole team can bring home plenty of medals, so please put your England flags back up, watch us on TV and cheer us on.

Thank you to everyone for your wishes and continued support!

* Follow Aimee Willmott on Twitter at @aimee_willmott

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