Saturday, June 30, 2018

Second breaststroke title for Benson on Day 3 of Scottish National Championships

University of Stirling’s Craig Benson secured a brace of breaststroke titles, winning gold in the 100m event on day 3 of the Scottish National & Open Swimming Championships taking place at Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow.

Benson showed his intent early on, hitting the front of the pack during the first 50 and holding off the challenge of Edward Baxter (Loughborough) to win gold in 1:02.17. Baxter took silver in 1:02.91, while City of Sheffield’s Oliver Crosby touched home in 1:03.28 for the bronze.

After the final Benson said,

“That was a tough race; it always is in the middle of the season when you go in unrested.

“This is my fourth competition since the Commonwealth Games and the last one before I rest up for the British Summer Champs. It’s been good to get a little race practice in but I’m now looking forward to resting up and trying to swim fast in Sheffield.”

Speaking about the breaststroke competition Benson continued,

“I am keeping an eye on what the guys are doing in Rome (Sette Colli Meet), more for my own interest as I won’t be racing against any of them at the Europeans.  This meet has been different as one of the main competitors, Ross (Murdoch), is away, then Calum (Tait) and Euan (Inglis) have retired, so the field may not be as strong as before but you still want to put in a good time and the racing has still been great. In fact all three nights have been really tight, with Daniel (Lim) in the 50, Toby (Mackay-Champion) in the 200 and of course Edward (Baxter) there in that 100m.”

Speaking about his longer term goals, Benson finished,

“I want to compete in my third Olympic Games, that’s my ultimate goal. While I don’t have major championships to contest this year I’m using this phase to build forward and get into the best shape possible come April 2020.”

Benson’s Team Scotland team-mate, Abbie Houston (City of Sheffield) won the National title in the 400m freestyle in a closely contested final. Monique Olivier representing Edinburgh University came home to take the win in 4:17.78. Houston won silver in 4:21.39, while Jemima Hall (Wycombe & District) won bronze in 4:22.21.

Houston said of her training,

“At the moment I’m working on the technical points ahead of British in a few weeks’ time. It’s about making sure when I’m tired and in hard training I can still smash those turns, my start and my finish. If I can nail them when I’m tired I feel that when I’m fresh they’ll come more naturally.

“I had two weeks out of the water completely after Gold Coast. Taking a full break meant I was really excited to return to training and fight harder than ever to make those improvements to keep moving forward.”

Tom Beeley (University of Aberdeen Performance Swim Team) continued his medal run, being crowned Scottish National Champion over 800m free, adding to the gold already won in the 200m fly and 400m freestyle.

Speaking about his varied programme he said,

“That race hurt a bit after the 200 fly and the 400 free. But I’ve upped the volume of intensity in training so it’s paid off. I wouldn’t have been able to do that last season so I’m happy.

“I’ve been trying different things out over the course of the season. The 200 fly has always been my main event but I did a lot of distance events when I was younger, so I’ve got that background. So when me and my coach stepped up the training this season I’ve been able to pick up these events quite quickly so it definitely makes for more interesting possibilities going forward.”

The full list of results can be found on the Swim Scotland website:

The schedule of events can be found HERE

The draft programme can be found HERE

The event can also be followed on social media by using #SNOC18 as hashtag, as well as on Scottish Swimming’s website,