The 24-year-old hit top form last year as she romped to Commonwealth, European and British titles in the 800m freestyle, as well as European and British gold and Commonwealth silver in the 400m – lowering her Welsh records over 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle over the course of the season as well.
But there is no time for Carlin to rest on her laurels with the World Championships and Rio Olympic Games looming over the horizon, and first up is the British Swimming Championships at the London Aquatics Centre this week.
And with the Championships doubling up as the trials for this summer’s World Championships in Russia, Carlin insists she is up for the challenge.
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“Last year was an incredible year for me and I was over the moon with how I swam then, but obviously it is now about moving that forward the next couple of years and building on that,” she said.
“With my coach moving away last year I had to relocate programmes, so I’m still getting used to the change but I’m really looking forward to trials and hopefully it will be a good event in London.
“It’s the Olympic pool, so it’s an incredible venue and just swimming there will be great. Hopefully there will be a good crowd in there as well.
“The British Champs are always a great meet. When you’re racing the best in Britain you’ve got such great talent there.
“The trials are all about trying to qualify for the World Championships, and the times that British Swimming have put out are really tough times this year.
“So it’s definitely a tough standard to make, but I do love a challenge the times are definitely achievable.
“So you have to make sure you are racing the clock to get the best time and get yourself on the team list, and I’m excited for it.”
Despite setting the world of swimming alight last year, Carlin knows there is still a long way to go if she is to be selected for her first Olympic Games in 2016.
And while admitting the Games are in the back of her mind, Carlin has been working hard over the winter to try and top her fourth-place finish in the 400m freestyle at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona.
“I’ve been working on a number of different things to try and get better. I’ve done a lot on my turns and work on the power side of things which has been a weakness of mine in the past,” she added.
“So I’ve been doing some different things in the gym, and then working on some stroke analysis things as well to try and tweak the little things which can make a big difference when you race.
“It’s been a really tough winter block of training. But I’ve been to three World Championships now and the trials are the first stepping stone – once you’ve made that you can evaluate and see how things are going.”
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© Sportsbeat 2015
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