Friday, April 15, 2016

Benson Secures Silver Medal in Stunning Breaststroke Final

"I usually do my warm-up in the other pool but came through to the competition pool earlier. I saw my family and felt quite emotional; I just wanted to do well for them.” Craig Benson

Friday of the British Swimming Championships was always billed as the day to be at Tollcross International Swimming Centre, as it was Men’s 200m breaststroke event and any one of the eight athletes lining up for the final were all capable of swimming fast and all had the desire of securing their ticket to Rio.

Andrew Willis (Bath University) had posted the fastest entry time into the final following an impressive heat swim but with a line-up that included the Olympic silver medallist, the Commonwealth Champion and a World Record Holder the atmosphere was electric.

Peaty, unremarkably used his pace and was leading at the half way mark, however, Willis made his move and established a lead turning into the final 50m. By this stage it was a 3-way race, Willis, Craig Benson and Ross Murdoch (both University of Stirling).

Willis was not to be caught and to the delight of a packed crowd came home in 2:08.08, a time within the Rio qualifying standard. It was Benson who came through for the silver medal with a time of 2:09.07 while Murdoch had to settle for Bronze in 2:09.16.

Following the race a clearly delighted Benson said,

“I had wanted to do my best time over 100m; I was only 0.1 or 0.2 away from that so was feeling good. I usually do my warm-up in the other pool but came through to the competition pool earlier. I saw my family and felt quite emotional; I just wanted to do well for them.”

Asked about not being a pre-race favourite, Benson continued,

“I seem to perform when it counts. While I’ve not been on a senior GB team since London I knew I had it in me to do well tonight, it wasn’t going to be a problem.  There was also more pressure on some of the others; they were the pre-race favourites and in the papers talking about this race every other week. Yes I was nervous before it, but I took advantage of the situation and I’m delighted with the outcome.”

3rd place Murdoch was clearly disappointed with his performance and said,

“I’m obviously absolutely devastated. I feel I’m in the shape of my life. I put in a decent performance in the 100m earlier in the week and felt tonight was going to be the night to shake off the woes of last season. But it wasn’t to be and that’s the nature of sport.”

Speaking about his team-mate Benson, Murdoch continued,

“It’s bitter sweet, I‘ve seen my teammate Craig Benson come second and put himself in a great position to be selected to the Olympic Team so I’m delighted for him but disappointed in my own performance.”

Michael Jamieson and Calum Tait (both Edinburgh University) also contested the final with Jamieson finishing in 5th in 2:10.55 and Tait in 8th in 2:13.53.

Cameron Brodie posted a PB in the final of the Men’s 100m butterfly finishing 4th in 53.09. The University of Stirling athlete said after the race,

“I was extremely disappointed with my 200m event but I’ve come back and put in a really strong performance there. The 100m and 200m fly are a million miles apart so to be able to put in a really strong 100m is great but it shows a missed opportunity in the 200m fly.”

Mark Szaranek (Edinburgh University) and Sean Campsie (Stirling Swim) finished in 6th and 7th places respectively (53.28/53.31).

Other Scottish swimmers/swimmers with Scottish Clubs competing tonight were:

George Clough (Warrender Baths Club) 200m breaststroke (Junior final): 2:19.12 (1st)

Callum Lawrie (FIRST) 200m breaststroke (Junior final): 2:21.07 (4th)

Kieren Preston (Edinburgh University) 200m breaststroke (Target Tokyo final): 2:15.97 (4th)

Anna Fleming (City of Glasgow Swim Team) 100m freestyle (Junior final): 57.64 (3rd)

Lucy Hope (Edinburgh University) 100m freestyle (Target Tokyo final): 55.87 (1st)

Rebecca Murray (FIRST):100m freestyle (Target Tokyo final): 57.56 (7th)

Craig Bowman (Edinburgh University) 100m butterfly (Target Tokyo final): 54.06 (2nd)

Isabel Jones (Millfield) 200m backstroke (Junior final): 2:17.33 (2nd)

Jennifer King (East Kilbride) 200m backstroke (Target Tokyo final): 2:17.49 (8th)

Kathleen Dawson (Warrington Warriors) 200m backstroke (Target Tokyo final): 2:13.99 (3rd)

Megan Briggs (Warrender Baths Club) 200m backstroke (Target Tokyo final): 2:16.67 (6th)


Full results from the meet can be found here:

The event schedule can be found here:

Both heats and finals are being live streamed. Follow all the action here:

The British Swimming Championships are taking place at Tollcross International Swimming Centre from 12 to 17 April 2016.