Anna Hopkin Hails ‘Motivational’ Mel Marshall After Booking Budapest Slot In 100 Free

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Anna Hopkin: Photo : Courtesy: Georgie Kerr, British Swimming

Anna Hopkin paid tribute to coach Mel Marshall’s inspirational qualities after she booked a world titles slot in the 100 free with victory at the British Championships in Sheffield.

James Guy and Katie Shanahan won the 100 fly and 200 back respectively although they were outside the qualification time for the World Championships in Budapest.

James Wilby won the 200m breaststroke in which he was preselected thanks to his sixth place in Tokyo last year.

Hopkin turned in 25.72 before coming home in 27.73 for victory in 53.45, 0.10secs inside the cut of 53.55.

It was swifter than the time of 53.49 the 25-year-old did at last year’s Olympic selection meet and ensured an individual slot in Budapest after being preselected for the relay following her anchor leg in the mixed medley that won gold in Tokyo.

Hopkin said:

“It feels amazing. The fact that this year it’s not been the main focus and we are not fully tapered, it really bodes well for the summer so it gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

The four-time European relay champion is part of the Marshall stable at Loughborough where she moved in March 2020 as the world went into lockdown.

Hopkin had been preparing to represent the University of Arkansas in the NCAAs after flourishing under the tutelage of coach Neil Harper.

Instead, she boarded a plane home to Britain and headed to Loughborough, did an unrested 53.3 time trial as her US swimmer career came to an abrupt end.

Since then Hopkin has reached the top of the Olympic and European podium on five occasions and she credits Marshall and Harper with helping instil confidence where before it was lacking.

She said:

“We have such a good group: it’s a small group but everybody is really motivated, works really hard and we have a lot of fun as well.

“I think Mel and my previous coach Neil are probably the most motivational people I’ve had in a leadership role and that’s helped a lot with my belief and confidence.

“And that is something I maybe struggled with before so I feel a lot more confident in myself now.”

Freya Anderson was second in 53.92 replicating her 200 finish and yet to book a ticket to world titles with Lucy Hope third in 55.14.

Wilby Takes Second Title Despite Little Rest

James Wilby World Trials

James Wilby: Photo Courtesy: Georgie Kerr, British Swimming

Commonwealth champion Wilby dominated the 200br throughout, with clear water between himself and the rest of the field as he touched in 2:09.48.

A battle unfolded behind him between Adam Chillingworth and Greg Butler – who was DQd then reinstated following the heats – with the former taking second in 2:12.17 to 2:12.30.

As well as winning the four-length event, Wilby booked a slot in the 100 with Adam Peaty despite not having fully rested for the meet.

“Enough (rest) to put in some fast swims,” Wilby told Swimming World.

“But our priority being we want to swim fast because it’s the first time we’ve done something fast since the summer but at the same time it’s a shortened cycle between here and World Champs so not a full rest because we can’t afford to have that time of getting back to it.

“Just a little dip effectively in the training loads to get us swimming fast here.”

The absence of 2014 Commonwealth champion Ross Murdoch was notable, the Scot having taken a long time out of the water following Tokyo.

Of when he last raced a national 200 without Murdoch, Wilby mused:

“A long time. I miss him certainly but I am glad to see him still swimming: we’ve had a slightly different return to the water post-Games and we are both back here this week and we have both done what we wanted to do.

“I shouldn’t really comment on what he’s doing performance-wise but I certainly feel he is swimming good.”

Pang Of Disappointment For Guy; Shanahan Comes Back

James Guy Glasgow

Photo Courtesy: Georgie Kerr, British Swimming

Guy, who won world bronze in 2017, turned at 23.98 and was half a body length clear coming into the final 15m, stopping the clock at 51.69, outside the cut.

He is though on the team thanks to his relay exploits in Tokyo where he won two golds and one silver medal.

Jacob Peters, also of Bath NTC, was second in 51.93 with Jamie Ingram third in 52.46.

It was his 20th national title but there was some disappointment for Guy who was 0.01 slower than his heat swim, saying:

“I think compared to this morning, I over-revved a bit – it was more in the first half, a relaxed swim.

“I probably got a bit excited at the front and haven’t quite the speed I’d like to have. I probably got a bit excited that first half.

“But it’s just finding that balance of where you are. It’s very similar to last year at trials, I was 51.4 and then dropped 0.5 at Europeans a month later. It wasn’t a bad swim, I’d have liked to have gone a bit faster but it’s job done.

“Trials is get the ticket and move forward.”

European junior silver medallist Shanahan was swiftest in the heats but it was Honey Osrin who led at halfway, a lead she maintained at 150.

Shanahan though reduced the deficit steadily on the final 50 before stopping the clock at 2:11.25 with Holly McGill second in 2:11.84 and Osrin third in 2:12.12.