Jo Jackson enjoyed a tremendous 2009, outshining Britain’s golden girl Rebecca Adlington by collecting three medals at the World Championships, and now she is aiming to continue her success in 2010. Northern Echo Sport spoke to the Richmond swimmer about her hopes for the year ahead.

JO JACKSON has confirmed she will double up in 2010 with both the European Championships and the Commonwealth Games on the agenda as she bids to lay down a ‘marker’.

Much has been made of the Jackson versus Rebecca Adlington rivalry over the past two years, with the latter now a household-name following her double gold in the 400m and 800m freestyle at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Jackson, from Richmond, was not far behind in the Far East as she claimed silver in the 400m freestyle, while she outshone Adlington at last summer’s World Championships, scooping 400m and 800m silver as well as 4x200m freestyle relay bronze.

The 23-year-old’s hat-trick of medals in Rome was the most that any British swimmer has ever won in a single World Championships and it came in a year where Jackson had already broken Adlington’s 400m world record back in April.

That record was soon eclipsed by Italian superstar Federica Pellegrini, while Jackson’s hopes of ending the year on a high were dashed when a bout of flu and sinusitis ruled her out of the much-publicised British Gas Duel in the Pool.

Ever in the limelight, Adlington went on to finish first and second in front of a sell-out crowd in Manchester in the Ryder Cup-styled swim meet as Europe went head-tohead with the USA in an event designed to give swimming the X-Factor.

But while other swimmers may wonder whether they are destined to always be in Adlington’s shadow, Jackson is not even contemplating it as she sets her sights on a goldladen 2010.

“The Commonwealths are big for me and of course I’ve got the Europeans as well so medalling at those are my twin aims this year,” said Jackson.

“You want to go from strength-to-strength and with the London Olympics coming round so soon you want to stick your marker down.

“Last time I went to the Commonwealths I won silver, so the aim is to at least match that but ideally win gold.

“I have had a taste of winning medals and I’m happy to have the pressure of being expected to win a medal.

“It shows I am swimming well and at this stage of my career I’m pleased that I am a serious medal contender and I want to live up to that over the next 12 months and beyond to 2012.

“My aim is to win a gold at a major event this year, that would be a real sign of progression for me from what was a great year last year.”

Jackson’s confidence is unwavering but her hopes of topping the podium in Delhi could yet be taken out of her control.

Rumours have been rife that a host of leading nations could withdraw from the event due to security concerns – a notion England’s Commonwealth Games chief Ann Hogbin has been at strains to deny.

And the Richmond flyer is adamant she will do everything in her power to be on the plane to India in October.

“I haven’t been given any official advice on the security situation for the Commonwealth Games but I’ve seen a few things on the news about potential problems,” she added.

“From my point of view I want to go and I don’t think security will be a big issue.

Whenever we go abroad we are very well looked after by the host nation and I can’t see that being any different in Delhi.

“What people sometimes don’t realise is that even though we are always travelling around the world we often just see the airport, the hotel and the pool, with most of the time spent shuttling between the airport and the pool.

“So cities are very similar really and as long as those locations are secure then I don’t see it being a major problem.

“To lose the Commonwealth Games would be a huge shame because it is what a lot of people are looking forward to and building their year around and I want to be there.”

Northallerton-born Jackson faces a busy year after she confirmed she plans to carry on competing in the 200m, where she finished fourth at the World Championships in Rome, as well as the 400 and 800m freestyle.

“I want to carry on doing the 200/400 and 800m all the way up to London 2012,” she continued.

“I enjoy swimming all three – that’s the main reason – and I also think it helps me.

“I’m not sure it is for everyone but for me personally I enjoy going to a competition and knowing that I have a few events to do.

“If it started to impact on my results then I would look at changing one but it hasn’t in the past and recently I’ve been swimming some of my quickest ever times at competitions when competing in all three disciplines.

“Everyone knows London 2012 is going to be spectacular so I want to be competing in as many events as possible when I’m there.”

Jackson along with Adlington and world champion Liam Tancock will return to the pool for the Britain v Germany Swim Meet in Swansea on February 20.

And after a difficult few months that has seen illness and the Big Freeze affect her swimming the Commonwealth silver medallist is chomping at the bit for a return to competitive action.

“I’ve had a really hard winter and not in a good way,”

she admitted. “Normally you have a hard winter because you are training all the time but mine was hard because I was able to do very little.

“I came down with flu around the time of the Duel in the Pool, which I was really disappointed to miss, and I was really unwell for around six weeks.

“I’ve had asthma for all of my life and I suffer with it quite badly and unfortunately the flu spread to my chest and I just couldn’t train.

“The cold was the biggest factor, I’m always more vulnerable to bouts of cold and flu when the temperatures are low and this winter has been one of the coldest I can remember.

“I’ve seen lots of things on the news about how people’s travel plans have been affected, or how their businesses have been affected, but it has really hit my swimming hard as well.

“I couldn’t do any pool work because it just wasn’t worth it.

I didn’t have the breath in me to do enough lengths to make it at all worthwhile.

“I like the ideas of the duels, I was gutted to have missed out on the one against the USA and I hope it is something we pursue as a nation because I would love to be part of it next time round.

“It’s no secret that we want to get bigger audiences involved in swimming, we want to perform in front of big crowds and we want to raise the profile of the sport.”

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