It’s a dream come true for Meg Bailey.
Ever since she started the sport, plied her trade at The Junction and eventually relocated to the US – the Hunter Swim Club product has been hoping for this very moment.
Now the Merewether 21-year-old has that chance.
Next month Bailey will don the green and gold uniform for the first time after being named in the Australian team for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Making matters even better, the event will be held in home waters on the Gold Coast.
“Ever since I was a little girl I always dreamed of wearing the green and gold and I couldn’t be more excited that it is a home games,” Bailey told the Newcastle Herald.
“It is going to be an unreal experience.”
Sunday’s announcement on the 70-strong Dolphins squad was unexpected according to Bailey.
The individual medley swimmer had claimed two bronze medals and clocked a pair of B-qualifying times at the Australian Swimming Championships, which wrapped up Saturday on the Gold Coast.
But she still wasn’t sure if it would be enough to get the nod from selectors for a Commonwealth Games debut.
“It was such a surreal moment,” Bailey said.
“For me I was one of the last members named on the team so I was just sitting around waiting to find out. I really couldn’t believe I️t when they approached and said I was on.”
The most pleasing aspect of her display at nationals wasn’t simply placing third in both the 200 and 400 metre IM finals or performing under pressure, but adjusting so quickly after arriving back from her American base.
“I was just really pleased with how well I adjusted to coming over from America three days before competition and transitioning well into some fast racing,” Bailey said.
She was also appreciative of the support from family and friends at the recent four-day trials.
“It was so good to have all my family there to watch me race and make the team,” Bailey said.
“They have been with me every step of the way and I know they are just as excited as I am.”
Her fan base extends to other Novocastrians with several comments posted on the Newcastle Herald Facebook page.
“Fantastic news Meg! You have worked so hard for years to get to this, so well done and the best of luck for the games. We will be there to cheer you on!” Kaye Simmons said.
Lyn Waugh agreed: “Well done Meg. Was watching race and screaming at TV cheering you on. Fantastic achievement”.
It remains unconfirmed if Bailey will contest both the IM distances, but she is “hoping” to do the 200-400 double.
On Monday she flew back to Ohio State University for her last block of training and to continue her PE teaching studies.