SWIMMER Laura Stephens admits it is a dream come true to be selected for next year’s Commonwealth Games.

The talented 18-year-old has been picked to represent Team England at the event in Australia, next April.

She was selected following her performance at last month’s Swim England National Winter Championships.

She finished almost second under the consideration time in winning 200 metres butterfly gold in a time of 2:09.32, having also won the 100m Fly crown.

“It’s always been a dream to compete at the Commonwealth Games,” said the Colchester Swimming Club member.

“Seeing team-mate Ben Proud getting a gold at his first Commonwealths and seeing Adam Peaty there was a big inspiration for me.

“It will be such a great feeling to get to represent my country - it gives you something extra and helps lift your performances.

“After I’d gone under the consideration time, I was really hoping it would be enough to get me into the team.

“My 100m fly time was quite strong too and with the 200m performance, I was really hopeful of making it into the squad.

“I was quite confident after how well the race went.”

While elated to get the nod, Stephens has admitted taking a “leap of faith” in terms of her training and preparation this season.

“My coach and I took a bit of a leap of faith, restructuring my whole training programme,” she said.

“It was a bit of a risk doing that but it’s been worth it.

“Even though swimming is very individual, it’s also a team sport and there’s so much going on in the background.

“The hours that you put in with your coach will make all the difference.”

Stephens, from Wix, has been picked for the Team England squad along with Plymouth Leander team-mates Thomas Fannon and Jessica Jackson.

The former Harwich Swimming Club member is one of 24 athletes to be announced in the squad and will be joining the other 15 announced following the first phase of selections by Swim England, last October.

It comes just three months before the opening ceremony of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on April 4.

“There’s not long to go now and I’m sure everything will go very quickly now in the lead up to the Games,” she said.

“I’ve had a bit of a break over Christmas and been back at Colchester Swimming Club but now I’m back in Plymouth and preparing for the Luxembourg Euro Meet, which takes place at the end of this month.

“It’ll be good to see how well training goes after the Christmas break and we’ll see if we can add some different things.

“It’ll be nice to get some solid swims in before I go off to the big meets.

“The top athletes in Europe will be competing in Luxembourg and a lot of them won’t be going to the Commonwealth Games, so it will be good experience.

“I’ve not set any firm targets, yet. But I’m really excited and motivated and there’s so much for me to look forward to in 2018.”