Saturday, June 5, 2021

Hope’s rising for Tokyo selection

Lucy Hope continued her push for Tokyo selection with a strong performance in the 200m freestyle on the second day of finals at the British Swimming Glasgow Meet, being held at Tollcross International Swimming Centre.

Fastest into the final, Edinburgh University’s Hope led from the off, taking victory in a time of 1:58.78. Freya Anderson (National Centre, Bath) was close behind in second, 1:59.26, while Emma Russell (University of Stirling) finished third in 2:00.91. Hope said of her performance,

“Coming here was always going to be tough, 10 days after the Europeans, and I had a pretty busy schedule out in Budapest. Mentally and physically I’m a little bit drained but happy to have gone faster this morning than I did last night and good to just work through the processes and I’m really happy how I approached that. Fingers crossed for Tuesday when the announcement comes out, that hopefully they’ll decide to take some of the women’s relays to Tokyo.”

Speaking about the relay success in Budapest, Hope said,

“I think the first day in Budapest was a bit of a surprise for us all. Going into it we were thinking we would probably get a medal and try and get as close as we could to gold, but I don’t think any of us expected to break the British Record by over a second and a half and go under the consideration time, so it has given the selectors something to think about.

“Being selected for Tokyo would mean everything. It’s been a 5 year cycle and with everything we’ve been through with Covid. In some ways I see it as a blessing that we were able to take that time away as we came back refreshed and loving swimming again.

“Mat (Trodden) and all the coaches and support staff at Edinburgh and Scottish Swimming have all been excellent during this period and I don’t think any of us could have gotten through it without them. Even during lockdown we had WODs twice a week so we could still see everyone and it was really refreshing to train online alongside the younger athletes as well as senior team-mates.”

Emma Russell also commented on her preparation coming into the Meet, and said,

“It’s not long since I was out in Budapest. I got so much experience there and I feel I’ve taken a lot from being part of the team.

“Going from Hearts to Stirling was a massive change and with Covid the plan came forward very quickly. To swim with an amazing group. Even in the short time I’ve been there I’ve learned so much from the squad and the coaches. I’m really enjoying it there.”

Duncan Scott led the charge in a quality field in the Men’s 200m freestyle. The University of Stirling athlete who won silver in the event at last month’s European Championships took the lead at the 100m mark and swam to victory in 1:46.02. Tom Dean (National Centre, Bath) was second in 1:46.46 and James Guy (University of Bath) third in 1:46.49.

Scott said of his race,

“It's not a morning final, it's just a final. It doesn't matter when it is, there were plenty of athletes in 2008 that managed to deal with it pretty well, I think it will be pretty fast regardless.

“Look at that, that's a world-class field right there. I've got to say a special mention to Cam Kurle. To go 1:46.6 at night, coming back, being in lane four of a heat like that and going 1:46.9, it would have been a PB if he didn't swim last night. He's a really good training partner as well.

“It's always a pleasure racing those boys, really honest efforts throughout the season. It's a really good, competitive environment, which is what you need. “

Another of Scott’s University of Stirling team-mates, Stephen Milne, finished eighth in 1:49.87.

In the MC 200m freestyle final, S14 swimmer Louis Lawlor (City of Glasgow Swim Team) finished in a time of 2:03.33.

In para-swimming, Edinburgh University’s Scott Quin was in good form in the MC 100m breaststroke final. Quin (SB14) took the win in 1:0740 and said of his race,

“I’m quite happy with that.  The timing of finals has been switched round for the AB guys ahead of Tokyo, but it doesn’t really bother me when I swim, I’m just working on my process and enjoying getting in to race.

“Training is going well. It was good to see some of my Edinburgh team-mates racing out in Budapest, that’s been really motivating. We’re all here as a team for this meet and I’m enjoying the team environment.”

Conner Morrison (University of Aberdeen Performance), Jack Milne (Dundee City Aquatics) and Gavin Roberts (City of Glasgow Swim Team) also contested the final.

Quin’s Edinburgh team-mates, Kara Hanlon and Katie Robertson, were also in action in the Women’s 100m breast final, finishing third in 1:08.72 and eighth in 1:13.27 respectively.

In the Men’s event University of Stirling’s Ross Murdoch finished third in 1:00.31 behind Adam Peaty (58.22) and James Wilby (1:00.05).

In the women’s 400m IM final, Hannah Miley (University of Aberdeen Performance) showed grit and determination to swim hard in her favourite event. The 32 year old finished second behind Abbie Wood in a time of 4:44.00 and said of her race,

“I know it was a big ask to try and go that Olympic Qualifying time and there is part of me that is a bit gutted that I didn’t quite get there as I know it’s a time I’ve done before but, looking back at the past year and having had surgery only seven months ago, I can’t knock what I did, I just ran out of time and there was nothing I could do, that’s just the cards I’ve been dealt with.

“I came here wanting to improve my performances from London and ultimately I did that in both heats and final and it’s now so exciting to see the likes of Katie Shanahan and Abbie Wood, the next wave of 400 medley swimmers coming through and I’d love for someone to go on and break my British Record. It’s definitely an event where there’s lots of opportunities but only for those who are brave enough to take it and go for it.”

Katie Shanahan (City of Glasgow Swim Team) was third in 4:45.42 while Yvonne brown (University of Aberdeen Performance) was eighth in 4:58.59.

Charlie Hutchison gave it everything in the Men’s 400m IM final, finishing second behind Loughborough training partner Max Litchfield in a time of 4:23.38. Hutchison said of his performance,

“This is probably my end of season so I put everything out there. This season I’ve been really working on my heat swims and obviously it’s been turned around for this event, but Max is my training partner, the best in the business, so I tried to see how long I could stick with him. It only lasted for 100m but it was worth a try!”

Speaking about his transition from junior to senior athlete, Hutchison said,

“I had a good European Juniors back in 2019, sadly came fourth, died in the last 50 so nothing new there. Unfortunately I couldn’t do my last Juniors  event, which was scheduled for Aberdeen last year; that would have been in front of my family, but I’m happy with how I’m going at Loughborough and I’ve got next year and the Commonwealth Games to think about and I’m looking forward to trying to secure my first Scottish cap.”

University of Stirling’s Mark Szaranek and Warrender Bath’s Angus Allison finished in fourth and fifth place respectively.

Mark Ford (City of Glasgow Swim Team) put in another strong performance in the 200m butterfly final, finishing fifth in 2:05.32, just half a second outside the pb set in last night’s heats. Ford said of his performance,

“I really enjoyed the past couple of days, the 200s have felt really good, which means that training is going well and I’m now just working towards that end of season.

“I was quite disappointed with how I swam in Trials down in London. A lot of the stuff was just on my PBs and I really wanted to drop some good times and I think the motivation from that to come back into training and race in my home pool has definitely helped. It has come together and I’ve put in some good swims.”

In the women’s final, Keanna MacInnes (University of Stirling) and Yasmin Perry (University of Aberdeen Performance) finished in fourth and eighth respectively.

In other events, Kathleen Dawson continued to dominate the backstroke, with victory in the 50m event in 27.64. University of Stirling team-mate Cassie Wild finished third (28.43) and Rachel Saunders of Warrender, in eighth (30.81). Abby Kane (University of Stirling) contested the MC final with the S13 athlete finishing in 34.28.

In the men’s 50m backstroke, Martyn Walton (University of Stirling) and Scott Gibson (Edinburgh University) made it a Scottish 1-2 with 25.67 and 25.62 respectively.

The Glasgow Meet sees finals taking place in the morning sessions (starting at 10am), with heats hosted from 5.30pm in the evenings. There is also a junior element, with heat-declared-winner races taking place in a mid-afternoon session. 

The action can be followed via the British Swimming YouTube channel and the results can be accessed HERE.