Sunday, April 10, 2022

Scott reigns supreme in classic freestyle final

Duncan Scott closed out the British Championships with a hard-fought victory in the 200m freestyle and Kara Hanlon secured her first senior British title, bringing down the curtain on six tough days of competition in Sheffield.

The 200m freestyle was a fantastic finale to the British Swimming Championships with all eight athletes involved being Olympians, including the reigning Olympic Champion and silver medallist for the event, Tom Dean and Duncan Scott.

It was however James Guy who took an early advantage. In fact, Guy (Bath NC) had the lead until the final 50m, where Scott and Duncan started their charge for home, with Scott taking the touch in 1:45.54, the fastest time in the world this year for the event. Dean (Bath NC) finished with silver in 1:45.73 and Guy took the bronze in 1:46.44.

Scott said of his performance,

“I thought we were quite lazy this morning in the heats. Maybe we were feeling sorry for ourselves on the last day of the meet but the standard that we need to hold ourselves to, I didn’t think it was good enough. Some people moved it on quite a bit tonight and it was good to see. But I just hope we’re able to keep moving things on for the rest of this year and over the next few years to Paris.

“We set ourselves quite high standards in the 200 freestyle and I think that’s important. That’s why we’ve had such success in that 4x200 event for so long in Britain. It’s one of the staples of the British team. There’s an expectation that the team’s going to medal. The target is on our back now and we have to set the world standard. Looking at the final, I think we’ve done well there as a group, I know a lot of the boys were chatting through the week I think we can move things on in the summer.”

Speaking about his performances this week and setting the world’s fastest times in both medley events as well as the 200 freestyle, Scott said,

“I’ve got a lot of faith in my coach, Steven Tigg. I’ve been with him for a long time. And a lot of the belief in myself comes from what he says to me. Especially when I was younger, that was a big thing. I probably didn’t quite believe in myself. But since the 2016 Olympics, that has changed. I’ve got an inner believe of what I’m able achieve. I’d say that’s down to what I do every single day and what I try to get out of myself and what I’m trying to achieve in the sport.

“The 200 free on the last day of a trials is always such a battle. Day six in Ponds Forge is quite a difficult one. That makes it that bit better as well because it’s such a battle. But I’m really delighted with my week’s racing. It’s been pretty challenging. First time I’ve had the 400IM in the schedule as well. It adds that intense fatigue but I’m happy with that.”

Evan Jones (Millfield) continued his excellent performances this week with victory in the Priority Paris 200m final.

Kara Hanlon secured her first British Senior title and third medal of the meet, with victory in the 100m breaststroke. In what was another very close final it was Imogen Clark who made the early charge, storming up the first 50m. Hanlon, who is coached by Mat Trodden at Edinburgh University, was never far behind, and with her tried and tested back-end speed, took to the front of the pack, touching home in 1:07.52, both a Scottish Record and a Team Scotland consideration time for Birmingham.

Sarah Vasey (Loughborough NC) won silver in 1:07.60 and Clark (Derventio) took bronze in 1:07.63. Hanlon said of her performance,

“I'm so chuffed with that [first senior British title]. I saw to my right how quick Imogen went out, but I always knew she was going to go out quickly, it was just about bringing it home for me.

“I'm not sure what time that back 50 was, but I’ve been trying to make 36.0 coming back, that has been the goal this season. Hopefully this just builds into faster swimming in the summer. “

Speaking about the earlier ‘B’ final which saw Hanlon’s Edinburgh team-mates, Katie Goodburn and Katie Robertson battle it out to the wall, with Goodburn taking the touch 0.01 ahead, Hanlon said,

“We heard the race from behind the screen! I heard it and thought, 'wait, who won it, Katie or Katie?!' They'll be happy with their swims there.

“I've been at the Edinburgh University programme a long time now and I've gone through the older girls being quicker than me and always aspiring to be quicker than them. Hopefully they find the same about me - I'm the oldie in the squad, so hopefully I've left people something to look up to.”

Hanlon then went onto talk about the goals she and her coach Mat Trodden set, she said,

“He's been incredible this past two or three years. The goal has really been to make Birmingham and challenge for a medal when we get there, and we're on track for that. It's amazing how much he does for me, I couldn't thank him enough.”

In the 100m butterfly final, Keanna Macinnes won the bronze medal with a time of 59.24. Edinburgh University’s Tain Bruce finished fourth in 59.38 and Yasmin Perry (University of Aberdeen Performance) was seventh in 1:00.57.

Macinnes (University of Stirling) said,

“I’m actually reasonably happy with third place, the time could have been faster, but job done and moving on to what’s next.

“My week has been ok, it’s a solid base to work with going forward. I’ll have a few days off to recover, then I’ll be back here for the BUCS Team Championships, so plenty more racing opportunities, which I’m looking forward to.”

Lucy Grieve (South Ayrshire Swim Team) took victory in the ‘B’ final of the 100m butterfly, with Madeleine Robertson finishing third. Grieve said of her race,

“That’s about my third fastest time ever for the event, not a PB, but I’ll take it. I’ve really enjoyed this week. Always good to come down and race other girls and Ponds Forge is one my favourite pools. I’ve not been here since 2019 and I’m really enjoying the experience, being here racing some of my idols.”

In other finals, City of Glasgow’s Gregor Swinney was only 0.02 off the consideration standard for 50m butterfly, finishing with a new Scottish Record time of 23.97. He said of his performance,

“I’m feeling good. I think I was a bit short on the finish, think I could have made the Commies time if I’d nailed my finish a bit better, but first time under 24 so happy with that.

“Preparation has been alright coming into this meet, I’ve been on and off with the time for the 50. I wanted to do well in the 100 as well but pleased I’ve finished off the meet well.”

Craig McNally just over half a second outside the consideration time for the 200m backstroke. The University of Stirling athlete finished in 1:59.49.

Alan Lynn, National Coach, said of the Championships,

“It’s been an incredibly tough and intense week of racing. Some amazing swims and some very close contests. The championships have produced a great start to this year’s busy long course season. I was impressed with the robustness of our younger swimmers at their first 6-day Meet in a long time or ever in some cases.

“The summer promises great excitement across July and August and I wish everyone well in the important selection meetings this week.

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.