GEMMA SPOFFORTH gave herself the chance to bury some Olympic demons by reaching the 100m backstroke final on Sunday.
Shoreham-born Spofforth endured the agony of finishing fourth on two occasions at her opening Games experience in Beijing four years ago – in the 100m backstroke and 4x100m backstroke medley.
Both before and after that Chinese setback the 24-year-old has also had to endure some terrible personal tragedies with both her mother, and her father’s new partner, dying of cancer.
There was talk of retirement earlier this year, however Spofforth - whose family still live in Slindon - showed something close to the form that brought her the world record – which still stands from 2009 - on the way to the final.
The Portsmouth ace qualified sixth fastest for the final but despite the omens looking good refused to talk of medals.
Earlier world record holder Spofforth safely negotiated the heats as the second day of Olympic action got under way at the Aquatics Centre.
The 24-year-old Spofforth has endured a well-documented turbulent few years of peaks and troughs, both in and out of the pool.
The Florida-based swimmer claimed the world crown in Rome in 2009 in world record time.
The following year saw her swim her final competition for the University of Florida, highly emotional for Spofforth as the team had become, and remain, a bedrock for her during difficult times.
The European title followed but by her own admission she went into a slump, with a difficult Commonwealth Games and then last year’s World Championships in Shanghai where as defending champion she failed to make it out of the heats. It was not until the trials earlier this year that Spofforth rediscovered her love for her sport.
If Spofforth is to fight her way on to the podium on Monday night, the events of Sunday night ensured she won’t be the first British swimmer to get there.
Two-time reigning Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington took 400m freestyle bronze for GB’s first swimming medal of the Games.
We’ll have a report on Monday evening’s final on this website.