Litchfield Brothers Make Waves In Glasgow; Jacob Whittle, 16, Goes 48.55 In 100 Free

Joe Litchfield
Joe Litchfield: Photo Courtesy: Georgie Kerr, British Swimming

The Litchfield brothers cut a swathe through the pool while 16-year-old Jacob Whittle went 48.55 over 100 free as the British Swimming Glasgow Meet concluded at Tollcross International Swimming Centre.

The older Litchfield brother Max  – who has booked a spot in the 400IM in Tokyo – went 3:47.69 in the 400 free.

Younger sibling Joe followed minutes later and took the 100 back by the scruff of the neck from the start to stop the clock in 53.75, inside the consideration time for Tokyo.

Anna Hopkin stormed to a 53.56 victory in the 100 free, Molly Renshaw completed the breaststroke double in the 200 as James Wilby took the men’s title and Ben Proud won the 50 fly.

Litchfield Pushes It To The Max

Max Litchfield

Max Litchfield: Photo Courtesy: Georgie Kerr, British Swimming

Litchfield the older went out hard and had a three-metre lead at halfway, extending it throughout for a dominant victory by more than five seconds.

There is a slot available in the 400 free in Tokyo with Litchfield, coached by Dave Hemmings at Loughborough National Training Centre, 0.91secs outside the consideration time.

Splits: 54.82/1:52.08/2:50.05/3:47.69

It was 0.72 swifter than his time in Budapest where he was locked out of the final by one place.

Should he have produced Sunday’s effort he would have finished seventh in the final.

William Bell (3:52.86) and Stephen Milne (3:53.03) completed the top three.

Litchfield said:

“That’s a really good swim to finish the meet off. To come in and do faster than Europeans heat, it’s good.

“It’s a good meet overall, I’ve got a lot more out of it than expected after Europeans, so it’s looking good.

“I’m excited to get back home now, get this last block in and get ready for the summer.

“To be swimming this fast in season is great, there’s a lot of stuff we’ve been working on, technically and otherwise, it’s great to see that work.”

There’ll be no British representation in the women’s 400.

Holly Hibbott hit the front on the fourth 50 and pulled away to stop the clock at 4:12.58, 6.62secs outside the consideration time of 4:05.96.

Hibbott made the switch to Bath National Centre in April 2020 to be coached by Dave McNulty, the man who has guided many swimmers to the Olympic podium.

Among them Jo Jackson and Jazz Carlin, who won bronze and silver in Beijing and Rio respectively in the 400 so Hibbott is in the safest of hands.

Beatrice Varley (4:16.83) and Monique Olivier (4:16.97) completed the top three.

Back To The Future For Joe

14th April 2021, London Aquatics Centre, London, England ; 2021 British Swimming Selection Trials

Joe Litchfield: Photo Courtesy: Georgie Kerr

Roughly 15 minutes later and the younger Litchfield made his way to the blocks.

He had gone 53.98 in Saturday’s heats, intent on guaranteeing an individual swim in Tokyo along with the 200IM and various relays.

The 22-year-old, in the same training group as his older brother, made his intentions clear as soon as he left the blocks.

Out in 25.99 and back in 27.76, with the excellent turns and underwaters that are the hallmark of Hemmings’ swimmers, Litchfield went 0.10 inside the consideration time of 53.85.

Craig McNally (54.87) and Brodie Williams (54.96) rounded out the top three with Luke Greenbank next home in 55.05.

Litchfield said:

“I’m so happy. A lot of us are pretty mentally tired right now, racing trials, coming out of that, holding into Europeans and then I didn’t quite get the time I wanted at Europeans, so Dave (Hemmings) said, ‘so do you want to train hard or do a bit more of a hold and try to get it at Glasgow?’

“Obviously you want another time, we knew I had it in me.

“Every time I’ve swam it, the front end or the back end was there, just not quite together, but it came together better than last night and I’m buzzing with that! It’s just another event to add to the Olympic programme.”

European record-holder Kathleen Dawson and her University of Stirling team-mate Cassie Wild didn’t appear in the heats and Georgia Davies shone in their absence.

Ten-time European medallist Davies had plenty of clear water between herself and the rest of the field as she dominated in 1:00.67.

Katie Shanahan, the 16-year-old of whom an exciting future is predicted, came through for second in 1:02.29 with Charlotte Evans next home in 1:02.41.

Whittle Leads Home Teenage Trio; Hopkin Blast

Jacob Whittle

Jacob Whittle: Photo Courtesy: Georgie Kerr, British Swimming

Whittle set a national age group record of 48.75 in Saturday’s heats, slicing a sliver of 0.01 from his previous mark from the British trials in April.

Come the final – shorn of Tom Dean and Duncan Scott – and the Derventio Excel swimmer went out in 23.78, turning first 0.38 aheaad of Matt Richards with Stephen Milne a further 0.08 adrift.

Richards, the 2019 European junior champion, tried to come back on the second 50 but Whittle – who doesn’t turn 17 until September – extended his lead to touch in a time that was 0.02 inside the FINA ‘A’ cut that would mean he could swim the individual event at the Games should the situation so arise.

Richards, who has an individual slot with Scott, was second in 49.20 with Ed Mildred third in 50.16.

The trio have a combined age of 52 with Richards, born in December 2002, the oldest and Mildred having turned 18 in April.

Whittle said:

“It was a good swim. I’m feeling really tired now, I didn’t have many expectations coming in, I’m training really hard so to come here and do PBs is really good, and I’m really pleased with the 100.

“I’m really excited to see what’s yet to come. I’m not tapered, unshaved, so there’s more there and I’m really excited for the summer.”

Anna Hopkin

Photo Courtesy: Georgie Kerr, British Swimming

Hopkin is a swimmer of fine consistency with a heat swim of 54.28 followed by this morning’s effort in a race from which Freya Anderson had withdrawn.

Hopkin, coached by Mel Marshall at Loughborough, split 25.60/27.96 to stop the clock in a time 0.13 outside the 53.43 in which she won European bronze.

Lucy Hope – who left Budapest with four relay golds – was second in 54.84 with Isabella Hindley third in 55.25.

Hopkin said:

“I’m really happy with that. To be able to produce that kind of swim off the back of hard training, after Europeans and with morning finals, it gives me a lot of confidence going into Tokyo.

“Trials was a good place to start, but I’ve really moved my swims on since then in hard training, so it bodes really well for the summer.

“The next three weeks are going to be pretty hard, a lot of gym work to do and a lot of volume in the pool, and then when we fly out we can start bringing it down a bit.

“We’re on the home straight now which is exciting.”

Renshaw At The Double

Molly Renshaw Glasgow 2021

Molly Renshaw: Photo Courtesy: Georgie Kerr, British Swimming

Renshaw has had a season that indicates she can at least make the podium in Tokyo, if not being among those jostling for the top step.

A British record of 2:21.89 at the trials was followed by the European title last month and she secured the 100-200 double in Glasgow.

Another Hemmings’ athlete, Renshaw’s long stroke is something to behold with the finest of streamlines off the wall.

Renshaw was ahead throughout and although Abbie Wood came at her over the final metres, she won in 2:23.15, exactly a second ahead of her training mate who clocked 2:24.15 with Kara Hanlon third in 2:29.03.

Renshaw said:

“We always knew it was going to be hard, coming off the back of Europeans and into a meet like this, but it’s just great to practice morning finals, this is our only opportunity before Tokyo to actually do it in a competition.

“It’s about learning things along the way and hopefully perfecting them before the summer.”

Wilby – who claimed bronze over 100 in Budapest – and Ross Murdoch traded the lead over the first half of the men’s race.

Murdoch was 0.06 ahead at the final turn but Wilby accelerated to a 34.80 last 50 to win in 2:10.44 with the 2014 Commonwealth champion next home in 2:11.57 and Greg Butler third in 2:12.63.

Proud Takes Flight

ben-proud-

Ben Proud: Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Ben Proud, making a rare appearance in the 50 fly in which he won the 2017 world title, won in 23.65 ahead of Jacob Peters (23.87) and Adam Barrett (24.41).

Keanna MacInnes won the women’s race in 27.27.

 

Emily Clarke pulled away in the final metres to win the 1500 free in 17:05.25 with 17-year-old Ella Dyson second in 17:06.31.

It was the second win of the meet for Clarke who also took the 800.

British Record For Challis

Ellie Challis

Photo Courtesy: Georgie Kerr, British Swimming

In the para-swimming events, Ellie Challis lowered the national S3 100 free mark to 1:54.90.

Maisie Summers-Newton (S6) headed the women’s MC 400 free in 5:28.50 with Oliver Carter posting 4:26.93 in the men’s event.

Hannah Russell (S12) went 1:10.23 in the women’s 100 back with Louis Lawlor (S14) going 1:01.57.

Leah O’Connell (S7) and Stephen Clegg (S12) posted 39.05 and 25.59 respectively in the 50 fly races.

 

 

 

 


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