Jo Mullins takes a rest from her heavy schedule after her superb effortsin the Far East (Photopress)

SWIMMING superstar Jo Mullins returned to a heroes' welcome at theWalnuts pool on Wednesday, after a stunning performance on the World Cupshort course circuit in Hong Kong, writes John Thynne.

Jo, 15, flew to Beijing on January 2 to represent England in round sevenof the competition. She swam in the 50, 100 and 200m breaststroke, andreached the final in the latter.

However, the best was yet to come. In round eight in Hong Kong, Joproduced a lifetime best time of 33.61s in the 50m to take silver in thefinal behind Sylvia Gerasch from Germany.

The Orpington Ojay swimmer went on to win bronze in the 100m and finishedfourth in the 200 in another personal best time.

Coach Eve Powis was delighted with the performance. Good results inBritain's Speedo Grand Prix and the European Short CourseChampionships in Sheffield had already established Jo as one of the bestswimmers in the country before the World Cup selection.

"I would say she has an exceptional chance of making the OlympicGames," said Eve. "She's really on target and we'redelighted with what she's done."

Jo trains six times a week at The Walnuts, New Eltham and Crystal Palacepools and says its very difficult to fit in her school work and sociallife.

But it will be worth it if she achieves her Sydney dream. "At themoment, if everything stayed as it is, I'd make the team as I'mranked second over the 100m long course behind Jamie King," saidMullins.

Considering her best is yet to come, Jo must be rated a realistic medalprospect.

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