Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Breaststroke boys double up on consideration times for Birmingham

All three posted consideration times for the 100m breaststroke yesterday, and today, Craig Benson, Archie Goodburn and Ross Murdoch had further cause for celebration, with consideration times in the 50m event, on day two of the British Swimming Championships in Sheffield.

Murdoch and Benson secured times during the morning heats (27.71 and 27.55 respectively), with Goodburn swimming a strong final to post the consideration time of 27.74. Benson, who swims with City of Glasgow Swim Team under Head Coach, Ian Wright, said of his performances,

“I’m really pleased, especially with yesterday. The focus has been completely on the 50 for me and it has been for the last year and a half, so to make the consideration time yesterday in the 100, by quite a margin, I was completely shocked. Its moments like that, that have kept me swimming. It was such a special moment one of the best moments I’ve had in swimming in I can’t even remember how long.”

Murdoch echoed Benson’s sentiments and said,

“It definitely means a lot. Me and Benson have been through the wars, we’ve been in the trenches together for well over 10 years and it means an awful lot to make a third Commonwealth Games together. And Archie, the new guy on the block, it’s great to see somebody else stepping up when it counts. He’s had a tough 12 months and it’s nice to see him step up when it mattered. We are looking towards the Games now and hopefully that will be enough to get us all on the team and we can just change our focus to the summer.”

Murdoch, who took time away from the sport at the start of the year, commented on his period of reflection and said,

“I needed some time away from the pool without intention to coming back, just to remember why I love doing the sport.  As Craig said, its moments like that that make you appreciate the sport and the friendships and the journeys you’ve been on, and it absolutely made it worthwhile.  I’ve been in the water for 6 weeks now, it’s not the fastest I’ve ever been, it’s not world beating, but I’m absolutely delighted to have made couple of consideration times, lets hopefully move it forward.”

The first of the breaststroke finals saw National Junior Team athlete, Callum Melville of Nova Centurion, take the Junior title. This was followed by Rory Dickson (University of Stirling) winning the Priority Paris final.

Craig McNally put in a storming final 50m to win the B final of the 100m backstroke. His time of 55.03 was just shy of the consideration time and the University of Stirling athlete commented on his performance,

“I tried to push the first 50 a bit more tonight, it felt slow this morning. Overall its not where I want to be. I’ve focussed more on the 50 and 100 this season, but what tends to happen with me is that I can’t shake off the 200 event. I’ll see what happens.

“I love meets like this, the higher the pressure the more I enjoy them. I tend to struggle with the time trials in training, I can’t quite get up for them, so something like this is music to my ears so to speak. I’ve come here to enjoy it and see what I can get out of it.”

In the same final, Scott Gibson (Edinburgh University) and Martyn Walton (University of Stirling) finished third and sixth respectively. Gibson, who originally finished with silver in last night’s 50m final, was confirmed as British Champion for the event, after the winning athlete was deemed ineligible for the title. In the Priority Paris final, National Junior Team athlete, Matthew Ward, Mount Kelly Swimming, finished second in a new Scottish Age Group Record (16 years) of 56.22.

In the women’s 100m backstroke final University of Stirling team-mates, Kathleen Dawson and Cassie Wild finished third and fifth respectively, with Katie Shanahan (City of Glasgow Swim Team) finishing seventh. European Champion Dawson, who is pre-selected to Team Scotland for the Commonwealth Games, said,

“I would have liked to go faster than that, it’s a bit disappointing, but I’ve had a compromised training block and it’s just good to be racing again.”

Wild, the European silver medallist over 200m backstroke, has also struggled with injury and said,

“I’ve had to readjust my goals coming into this meet. I’ve not had a consistent training block since January due to injury and I knew coming into this I wasn’t going to be at my best, but, I did think I’d be a bit quicker than that. I know where I’m at, and what would be a realistic goal for me and what wouldn’t, but I’m still a bit gutted not to get the time for Birmingham.”

Both girls will return on Saturday for the 50m backstroke event.

In other events Tom Beeley put in a strong performance in the final of the 200m butterfly, finishing fourth in a lifetime best of 1:58.60. The Plymouth Leander athlete said of his performance, which was less than 0.4 outside the consideration time for the event in Birmingham,

“It was a good time, a big PB so I’m obviously happy with that, but I’m always looking to go faster. It’s just outside the consideration time for Birmingham, but there’s a lot of Scottish guys swimming fast here, so I’ll just have to wait and see what the selectors think.”

Kara Hanlon returned to the podium to collect her bronze medal for the 200m breaststroke final.  The Edinburgh University athlete finished in a time of 2:27.61. Yvonne Brown (University of Aberdeen Performance) finished fourth and Hanlon’s Edinburgh team-mate, Katie Robertson finished in eighth.

The finals session kicked off with the fastest heat of the 800m freestyle, which saw Lauren Wetherell (University of Aberdeen Performance) finish 9th overall in 8:59.38. Wetherell now attends the University of Tennessee where she is studying Psychology, knew she’d find it tough returning to long course after swimming yards at the NCAAs, and said,

“It’s been difficult adjusting stroke count and head position, but it was my first long course race and to be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect. I think I’ve learnt a lot and I’ve got a lot of stuff to go back to America and work on with my coaches. My 200 was good yesterday but I think my 800 has lots of work to do. I’m looking forward to my 400 in Saturday, I feel like I’m set up well for that, that’s what I’m aiming for.”

Wetherell, who has also spent time training with Patrick Miley at the University of Aberdeen Performance programme and swims under the Club during the Championships. She spoke highly of Miley in the lead up to the event, and said,

“I’m really enjoying working with Patrick. I have a good connection with him and message him from the States via WhatsApp. He’s been really helpful with me coming back here and training, so I am really grateful for that and the relationship we have built. My coaches back in America have also been watching and that’s really nice.”

In the 50m butterfly final Keanna Macinnes (University of Stirling), Lucy Grieve (South Ayrshire Swim Team), Tain Bruce (Edinburgh University) ad Yasmin Perry (University of Aberdeen Performance) finished fourth, sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.

Full results from all finals across the meet can be found here.

The Team Scotland selection policy for aquatics (including swimming, diving and para-swimming), can be found here.

Selection policies for the World Championships, European Championships, European Junior Championships and European Youth Olympic Festival can be found here.

The British Swimming Championships are being streamed live on the British Swimming YouTube page.