Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Miley, Murdoch win bronze on opening day of British Championships

The first champions were crowned this evening as the British Swimming Championships got underway at Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow. The Championships double up as a selection meet for the World Championships in Gwangju as well as the European Juniors, European Youth Olympic Festival, World Juniors and World University Games.

Still in recovery from recent ankle surgery, Hannah Miley (University of Aberdeen Performance), put in a strong display in the 400m IM final to take the bronze medal. The 29-year old finished in 4:42.68, a 2½ second improvement on her heat time.

The race was dominated by University of Stirling’s Aimee Willmott, who beat Miley to gold in this event at last year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Willmott went out quickly from the off and the gold medal never looked in doubt. She finished in 4:36.98, which is within the consideration time for the World Championships. Abbie Wood (Loughborough NC) won silver in 4:40.44.

With the Worlds not on her radar, Miley was satisfied with her medal winning efforts and said,

“It is a little strange not focussing on selection but it’s actually been really good. Weird, but a good weird! 

“It’s nice coming into this meet not feeling any pressure, no expectations. The only expectation is what I put on myself and what I feel the crowd would want from me. Everyone wants you to do well and I really appreciate the support.

“And for me mentally it’s really good. Belmonte took a year out and didn’t compete at worlds before Rio. For me, if I was five years younger I may have rushed my rehab a bit more and pushed myself to be on peak form, but I’m coming up for 30 so I need to be smarter and  I need to more careful about making sure my recovery is right, looking after my body first and my head.

“I feel that as long as I keep moving forward and focus on the little process goals and at the end of each race I try and tick them off in my head before I look at the clock, because right now, times don’t matter to me.”

14 year old Katie Shanahan (City of Glasgow Swim Team) was the youngest in the Open final, but she certainly did not look out of place. She touched home in 5th with a time of 4:46.62, well within the consideration time for the World Junior/European Junior Championships. Her time was also a new Scottish Junior Record, which had been held by Hannah Miley since 2005 (4:47.01).

She said of her performance:

“I’m so happy, really buzzing at the moment. When I looked up at the clock I didn’t realise it was my time I was looking at. That was the event I was most nervous for so I’m confident for the rest of the meet, especially the 200m IM.”

Archie Goodburn (Warrender Baths Club) also posted a World Junior/European Junior consideration time in the 100m breaststroke. The 17 year old touched home in 1:02.20 and was pleased with his race, he said,

“I’m well happy with that, although unfortunately it wasn’t a PB, so I will look at that with my coach and see where I could improve. I’m really pleased to have secured a consideration time so early on in the meet. I had a great experience at Juniors last year (Helsinki) so hopefully I can build on that for this year.”

In a highly anticipated Open Final for the 100m breaststroke, all eyes were on lane four and Adam Peaty. The Olympic and World Champion, and World Record Holder looked strong, and powered to victory in 57.87. His Loughborough NC team-mate, James Wilby, won silver in 58.66, while University of Stirling’s Ross Murdoch and Craig Benson were 3rd and 4th respectively with 59.21 and 59.91.

Peaty’s time secures his place on the team for Gwangju, and while Wilby also made the qualifying time, he will have to wait to have his selection confirmed.

After the race, a thoughtful Murdoch said,

“I think I put the race together quite well, but there was too much to do down the back end. I went out slower than I was this morning so should have been out after it a bit more tonight.

“I always knew it would take a PB so I’m a little bit disappointed I didn’t get back onto my PB of 59 flat, I would have loved to have dipped under that.  I seem to be in a rut at the moment, I swim a rapid heat and I feel I’ve so much more to give in the final, then it’s only a 0.1 improvement.”

Looking ahead to the 200m Murdoch continued,

“It’s the fastest I’ve been at this time in the season so if you’re not dying at the back end of the 100 you’ve surely got some endurance, but I’ll have to wait and see. I’ve the 50 first so we’ll see what happens with that tomorrow.”

Craig Benson also commented on his time, he said,

“I would have liked to have gone quicker. It was 0.4 off my PB but that’s the quickest I’ve swam out with the summer so it’s a good stepping stone for rest of the season. It was also under the World University Games marker and that’s my target for the summer.”

Katie Goodburn (Warrender Baths) broke the Scottish Junior Record for 50m breaststroke with a time of 31.68.

Other Scottish Open finalists this evening were Katie Goodburn (Warrender), Kara Hanlon (Edinburgh University)-50m breaststroke; Lucy Hope, Rachel Masson (Edinburgh University) – 200m freestyle; Stephen Milne (Perth City)-400m freestyle; Orla Adams (University of Aberdeen Performance)-400m IM.

Full results can be found HERE

The British Swimming Championships are being held at Tollcross International Swimming Centre fro 16 to 21 April 2019.