Murdoch, Willis Set for 200 Breast Battle at 2017 British Swimming Championships

Ross Murdoch
Photo Courtesy: British Swimming


The 2017 British Swimming Championships are now over halfway complete, but the action has not slowed down throughout this morning’s prelims. James Guy has claimed another top seed while Siobhan-Marie O’Connor swam a best 100 freestyle in preparation for Saturday’s 200 IM. Additionally, Andrew Willis and Ross Murdoch have set themselves up for a Peaty-less 200 breast battle tonight as both men will attempt to get back down to 2:07 and qualify for Budapest.

The British Championships are taking place at the Ponds Forge International Sports Center from April 18-April 23. The event will determine who will claim the World Championships roster spots for the upcoming games in Budapest.

Prelims sessions begin at 5:00 am, EST while finals will begin at 1:30 pm EST.


Photo Courtesy: Erich Schlegel- USA TODAY Sports

With the absence of Adam Peaty in this morning’s 200 breaststroke prelims, Olympian Ross Murdoch took over the event in 2:10.88. Murdoch has an interesting history in this event ever since the 2014 European Championships where he earned silver with a 2:07.77. He then went on to win gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in 2:07.30 and then gold again at the 2016 Euros. He earned a bronze at the 2015 World Championships but did not compete in this event at the 2016 Olympic Games where he placed ninth in the 100 breast.

Tonight he will fight for his spot in the World Championships; a 2:07.73 will automatically qualify him. He will be challenged Andrew Willis (2:11.83), Craig Benson (2:12.31), Calum Tait (2:12.99), James Wilby (2:13.23), Edward Baxter (2:13.98), Charlie Attwood (2:14.41) and Luke Davies (2:15.01). Willis took eighth in this event in London and then fourth (2:07.78) in Rio, so the race should be on between him and Murdoch. Willis is on the upswing and will be looking for this win.

In the women’s 100 free, Freya Anderson took top honors in 54.40. She was followed closely by Siobhan-Marie O’Connor in 54.49 but the next closest competitors were all over 55 seconds. Lucy Hope (55.09), 50-Freestyle Champion Anna Hopkin (55.15), Eleanor Faulkner (55.46), Jessica Jackson (55.63), Georgia Davies (55.90) and Kathryn Greenslade (56.13) will round out the A final.

Hopkin will be looking to earn her second National Title at these Championships, while O’Connor will look for more confidence headed into her signature event, the 200 IM tomorrow on day 5. 53.72 will make the worldwide top 10 while it will take a 53.08 for an automatic Worlds bid and a 54.25 for consideration.

While James Guy has never won an international medal in the 100 fly, he does have plenty of race experience. He was a semifinalist in Rio in this event after steady progressions since 2014. Today he raced to a 52.81, a solid morning swim compared to his best 51.78. Second-place Adam Barrett was out faster in 24.52, but Guy was able to close and take the top seed. Barrett’s 53.00 was just off his best 52.12. The men will need to swim a 51.75 for Worlds Consideration.

Sean Campsie (53.49) and Sam Horrocks (53.67) took the next two spots, while Cameron Brodie tied 2017’s fastest 100 freestyler in the World, Duncan Scott, for fifth in 53.78. This was a best time for both men by one and two tenths, respectively. Kevin Wallbank was seventh (54.26) while Calum Jarvis was eighth (54.53).

Charlotte Evans swam a solid 200 back this morning, posting a 2:12.26 for the top seed, just about a second off of her best. Jessica Fullalove, one of the favorites in this event, cruised to a 2:12.31 this morning, backing off greatly on the back 100. She will be one to watch tonight to dip under 2:10. Kathleen Dawson, the top seed coming in to the meet, finished seventh in 2:13.89. She split the race 1:06.74-1:07.15, so she clearly has some speed left in the tank for tonight’s final.

Chloe Golding (2:13.18), Kirsty Simpson (2:13.38), Rosie Rudin (2:13.45), Candice Hall (2:13.68) and Courtney Price (2:14.35) will also compete in the A final.