Jo first represented Great Britain in 2001 as a junior. In 2003 she was selected as a senior and immediately had her first major success when she medalled at the European Short Course Championships.
The following year at only 17 years of age Jo was selected to swim in her first Olympic Games in Athens in the 400m freestyle, but she still regards failing to progress past the heats as the biggest disappointment of her career.
In 2006 as a member of England’s Commonwealth Games team in Melbourne Jo won a brace of silver medals.
At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing Jo put the memories of Athens behind her for good winning the 400m freestyle bronze medal in a thrilling race where she was just touched out of the gold & silver medals.
Since returning from Beijing Jo’s performances have been outstanding. At the British Championships she beat her close friend, Rebecca Adlington in the 400m freestyle setting a new World Record at the time. She also bettered her time over 800m by 6 seconds at the Scottish Championships in June 2009.
Having had such a great build up to the 2009 World Championships in Rome in July, Jo was expected to do really well and she didn’t disappoint.
An incredible swim in the fastest women’s 400m race of all time brought her first success of the championships with a silver medal, beating Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington who came third, followed by bronze in the 4x200m relay in a new European record time.
Then in the 800m Jo showed that even over the longer distance she has the strength to sprint at the end of the race, passing the Italian swimmer in the final 25 metres to take another silver medal, again defeating her close friend Rebecca Adlington who finished 4th.
On her return from Rome Jo’s sensational season continued setting a new 400m freestyle World Record (short course).