Her love of swimming rediscovered, Lizzie Simmonds is enjoying the sport again.
The 27-year-old’s love fell away during the latter years of her time at Bath, which coincided with missing selection for the Rio Olympics.
But the backstroke specialist has been reinvigorated by her switch to Edinburgh and will be content whenever she decides to end her career, whether it is following next month’s Commonwealth Games, this summer’s European Championships in Glasgow, or the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“The balance of being happy and training is such a fine line. If you’re miserable, you don’t swim well,” Simmonds told Press Association Sport.
“The reason for me wanting to continue and not stop was because I wanted to finish my career, whatever that timescale may be, on my terms.
“As an experienced athlete, I wanted to have a say and some responsibility over what I’m doing.
“I wanted to do it for the right reasons. I wasn’t doing it for those reasons in the lead-up to Rio.
“That vindicated the decision to come here (to Edinburgh). It’s been a good move for me.”
Simmonds is a 13-time British champion. She won both 100m and 200m backstroke titles earlier this month and won the 200m at the 2016 British Championships.
But she missed the Olympics qualification time and, despite the option of discretionary picks, the selectors opted against taking Simmonds.
“If two people beat you at the trials and you’re number three, then you put your hands up and accept that your place on the team has gone,” the two-time Olympian added.
“But there was no-one in my event. They decided not to take anyone.
“It hurts I wasn’t given the opportunity. They don’t value me as much as some of the younger athletes, despite me being repeatedly much quicker.
“There was a phase a few years ago where British Swimming ranked you, giving you a green, amber or red rating, based on things like how tall you are, how old you are.
“In some sports it’s quite relevant, but there’s a lot of different ways to swim fast.”
Asked where she was ranked, Simmonds said: “I don’t know if I even made it on to the ranking system!”
On the present British Swimming system, led by head coach Bill Furniss and performance director Chris Spice, she added: “It might produce people who win medals. I think on the whole you have quite a lot of unhappy people, athletes and coaches.”
Simmonds credits her renewed enjoyment to her coach, Shannon Rollason, and Chris Jones, the head of performance swimming at the University of Edinburgh.
After being a funded athlete for so long, she is now surviving on savings and has plans to mentor aspiring athletes as she transitions to the “real world” when she does quit.
For the immediate future her focus is on the Commonwealth Games, where Canadians Taylor Ruck and Kylie Masse and Australians Kaylee McKeown and Emily Seebohm have four of the top five 200m times in the world in 2018. Simmonds has the 10th best and seventh best in the Commonwealth.
“It’s going to be a bun fight for medals,” she added.
“(But) I’m not doing this for the accolades any more – I’m doing it because I love the sport.”