But last night there was gold medal redemption at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
I knew it was going to be a tough race with a strong field including world championship medallists and Australian record holders
An untimely bout of glandular fever meant Carlin failed to qualify for the Olympics but she went some way to righting that wrong as she took 800m freestyle gold in a Games record 8:18.11 to become the first female Welsh Commonwealth Games swimming champion in 40 years.
She paced her race to perfection, swapping the lead with New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle before surging clear in the decisive closing lengths.
But Carlin – in a sign of a true competitor – claims she needs more. It was a fractionally quicker time than her performance at the British Championships but American world record holder Katie Ledecky remains the standard to aspire to – and she has gone seven seconds quicker this season.
“I put everything into my training this year to perform well on the day so I’m so happy to win the gold medal,” said Carlin, who finished two seconds clear of Boyle, while Canada’s Brittany MacLean completed the podium.
“I knew it was going to be a tough race with a strong field including world championship medallists and Australian record holders.
“It’s slower than I wanted to go but it’s all about the race. Last year at the World Championships I got pipped on the last 50m, so this year I made an effort of making sure my last 100m was quicker than anyone in the pool.”
There was further gold medal success for the home nations with Sophie Taylor capping a Commonwealth Games debut to remember by taking the 100m breaststroke title after a late surge.
While Taylor’s England teammate Ollie Hynd, the current Paralympic, World and European champion, completed his clean sweep on international titles with a victory in the SM8 200m individual medley.
Elsewhere Aimee Wilmott stormed to her second silver medal of the Games in the 200m butterfly.
The 21-year-old, who won her first silver in the 400m individual medley on the first day of the Games, came home in 2:08.07 minutes, just 0.46 seconds behind Audrey Lacroix of Canada.
Adam Peaty added 50m breaststroke silver to the 100m breaststroke gold medal he won on Saturday night, world record holder Cameron van der Burgh pipping him by 0.02 seconds.
While Adam Barrett took bronze in the 10m butterfly and Fran Halsall finished just outside the medals in the 100m freestyle as she finished in fourth.
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BIOGRAPHY: Mohamed Salah