British Championships: Ollie Morgan & Freya Colbert Make It Two In Two; 13-Year-Old Amelie Blocksidge Goes 8:38 For 800 Silver

Oliver Morgan
Oliver Morgan: Photo Courtesy: Morgan Harlow/British Swimming

British Championships: Ollie Morgan & Freya Colbert Make It Two In Two; 13-Year-Old Amelie Blocksidge Goes 8:38 For 800 Silver

Ollie Morgan and Freya Colbert made it two titles in as many days while 13-year-old Amelie Blocksidge announced herself on the senior stage at the British Championships in Sheffield.

With the meet doubling as trials for the 2023 World Championships, no swimmer made the cut for the British team but there was joy for Morgan and Colbert who won the 100 back and 800 free respectively at Ponds Forge.

Colbert is the only swimmer to have so far clinched an outright slot for Fukuoka thanks to her performance in the 400IM on Tuesday with Katie Shanahan (400IM) and Freya Anderson (200 free) having posted consideration times.

The stringent times to make the team on Wednesday included two standards quicker than national records that have stood since 2009 – the height of the supersuit era – in the men’s 200 fly and 100 back.

Morgan won the 50 back on Tuesday in 24.84 before dismantling his PB in 53.77 in the 100 heats.

The Birmingham University swimmer was third at halfway in 26.08 behind Cameron Brooker (25.97) and Jonathon Adam (26.07).

Morgan though came back on the second 50, splitting 27.84, to move to the top of the field, out-touching Brooker by 0.02 in 53.92.

Brooker took second in 53.94 with Luke Greenbank third in 54.30.

It was outside both the qualification time of 52.58 – which was 0.25 swifter than Liam Tancock‘s 2009 national record of 52.73 – and the consideration mark of 53.32.

That makes matters interesting for the selectors.

Morgan said:

“The pressure was definitely on on that one – that’s the main one I want to do well in.

“Hopefully see what happens in the summer but….yeah.”

Of occupying lane four and the subsequent mental approach, he added:

“I think heats-wise I knew it was going to be quick to get in there like it was last year but I wanted to get out there, put (down) a statement, show them what’s there and hopefully try and build on it.

“It was a bit off it but I’d like to have gone a bit quicker but no, I am happy with that.”

Nods To Ledecky And Titmus; Blocksidge Thrives On Senior Stage

Colbert joined Dave Hemmings’ group at Loughborough Performance Centre in September after coming through at Nova Centurion, the alma mater of Becky Adlington, who won the 400 and 800 free at Beijing 2008 when Colbert was four.

Occupying lane five alongside Colbert was Blocksidge, the 13-year-old causing waves – never mind ripples – of excitement and whose entry time was 8:39.14.

Freya Colbert thumbs up 400m IM [MorganHarlowBritishSwimming]

Freya Colbert: Photo Courtesy: Morgan Harlow/British Swimming

Colbert was two body-lengths ahead by 200 and dominated throughout to win in 8:35.02.

Blocksidge moved through the field to go second with 300 left, a position she didn’t relinquish to finish in 8:38.33, breaking her own British age group record with Fleur Lewis third in 8:40.14.

The City of Salford swimmer – who turns 14 on Sunday – was born in 2009, a year after Adlington soared to her Beijing double.


Colbert: 2:04.25/4:14.75/6:25.34/8:35.02

Blocksidge: 2:07.79/4:18.52/6:29.34/8:38.33

On swimming the 800 free, Colbert pointed to the example set by Katie Ledecky – with three Olympic titles over 800 and a gold and silver in the 400 – and Ariarne Titmus, who won the 200/400 double in Tokyo, saying:

 “It’s partly to do with the competition schedule. I’ve got the day off tomorrow so it was partly a ‘why not?’ sort of thing.

“One reason for it is the mental battle and getting my head around it. When I do the 800 it gives me confidence for my 400 free.

“When I look at other people around the world like Titmus and Ledecky, they’re all so strong on the 800 as well, so it’s being strong on that double distance to give myself that confidence and the extra push on the 400.”

Harris Takes Title With Second 50 Charge

The women’s 100 back promised to be a real tussle with Lauren Cox leading the way in prelims ahead of Kathleen Dawson who has experienced the full range of emotions over the past couple of years.

European gold and a continental record of 58.08 in 2021 was followed by Olympic mixed medley relay glory in Tokyo before her international ambitions in 2022 were wiped out by a back injury and subsequent rehab.

Medi Harris 2

Medi Harris: Photo Courtesy: Morgan Harlow, British Swimming

Medi Harris, the European silver medallist last year at the Foro Italico, qualified third but it was the Welshwoman who reached halfway first in 28.67 ahead of Cox and Dawson.

And that was how it finished with Harris winning in 59.82 – outside the consideration time of 59.65 by 0.17 – with Cox second in 1:00.01 and Dawson completing the podium in 1:00.50.

Harris said:

“I definitely found it tough to come back but going out hard is what I’ve been working on in training.”

As well as 100 back silver, the Swansea University swimmer claimed a further three medals at Rome 2022 including 4×100 free gold which followed bronze at the Commonwealth Games.

It has turned attention her way and she said:

“I’ve definitely found it a lot harder but I think that’s more me than anyone else because I know I expect a lot from myself so I just try and go and concentrate on what I love doing, enjoying the race more than anything.”

Of her ambitions for 2023, she said:

“Paris really is the main aim but obviously I’d love to go to worlds and all of that to gain more experience and hopefully prepare towards Paris.”

Gold For Goodburn After Record-Breaking Morning; Jones Flies To Victory

A new champion was to be crowned in the 50 breaststroke in the absence of Adam Peaty – whose first national title came in the 50 in 2014 – and who withdrew last week to focus on his mental health.

Archie Goodburn

Archie Goodburn: Photo Courtesy: Morgan Harlow/British Swimming

Goodburn was the man in the spotlight after he set a Scottish record of 27.19 in the morning which saw him go third all-time in Britain behind Peaty and his WR 25.95 and James Wilby’s 27.16 at the 2022 trials.

And it was the Edinburgh University swimmer who produced a gold medal-winning swim in 27.24 ahead of 100 champion Wilby (27.62) and Greg Butler (27.76).

It’s the second time in as many days the trio occupied the podium after they made up the top three in the 100, albeit with a different finishing order.

Harriet Jones won the 2022 title ahead of Sophie Yendell but it was the latter who headed morning prelims in 26.39.

And it was Yendell who touched first in 26.16 ahead of Jones (26.49) with Lucy Grieve in third in 26.83.

Gammon Repels Beeley In 200 Fly; Davey Takes 200 Breaststroke

Getting the automatic qualification time of 1:54.22 was always going to be a tough ask given it was inside the national record set by Michael Rock back in 2009 in the super-suited era while the consideration time was 1:55.33.

Last year’s champion James Guy was on poolside rather in the water with the two-time Olympic relay champion only contesting the 100 of the fly events.

Thomas Beeley – fourth in 2022 – had booked lane four in the morning prelims alongside Andrew Bertoli.

A thrilling final saw Beeley come back at long-time leader Joshua Gammon only for the Bath University swimmer to touch in 1:58.88 from lane seven.

Beeley was second in 1:58.99 with Reuben Rowbotham-Keating next home in 2:00.83.

The absence of Molly Renshaw was very visible with the two-time Olympian, British record-holder and triple European champion having retired following an 11-year career that saw her compete at the 2011 worlds in Shanghai aged 15.

Abbie Wood won last year and is the second-fastest British woman in history in 2:21.69 but she didn’t enter the four-length event in Sheffield.

It was Gillian Kay Davey who won the title in 2:25.07 – outside the cut for Fukuoka – ahead of Kara Hanlon (2:25.07) and Elizabeth Booker, who held a 0.18 lead at the final turn before being overhauled.


Notify of

Welcome to our community. We invite you to join our discussion. Our community guidelines are simple: be respectful and constructive, keep on topic, and support your fellow commenters. Commenting signifies that you agree to our Terms of Use

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x