British Championships, Day 3 Heats: Matt Richards Takes Maiden Voyage Inside 48 With Welsh 100 Free Record Of 47.72; 2nd All-Time In Britain

British Championships, Day 3 Heats: Matt Richards Takes Maiden Voyage Inside 48 With Welsh 100 Free Record Of 47.72; Goes 2nd All-Time In Britain

Matt Richards went inside 48 for the first time with a Welsh record of 47.72 to head the field in the 100 free at the British Championships in Sheffield and go second all-time in Britain.

It was a hefty PB for the 20-year-old, who cut 0.51secs from his previous mark of 48.23 that he swam at the Olympic selection meet in April 2021 and then in Tokyo.

The Millfield swimmer split 23.02/24.70 and was the only man inside 48 with Jacob Whittle next swiftest in 48.45, 0.03 ahead of Duncan Scott (48.48), Tom Dean clocked 48.52 with British record-holder Lewis Burras on 48.77.

Joe Litchfield (49.08) Ed Mildred (49.41) and Jack McMillan (49.42) completed the top eight ahead of the afternoon heats.

British Rankings All-Time

47.63; Lewis Burras; Budapest 2022

47.72; Matt Richards; Sheffield 2023

47.83; Tom Dean; Commonwealth Games 2022

47.87; Duncan Scott; 2019 British Championships/2021 Olympic selection trials

48.11; Jacob Whittle, 2021 Olympic Games

The qualification time for the Fukuoka worlds is 47.60 – inside the national standard of 47.63 – with the consideration at 48.05 and such is the depth in Britain that four men starting tonight’s final have done a 47.

Scott has a pedigree over two lengths. Commonwealth bronze in 2022 came four years after gold in Australia in the same year he was also the European silver medallist.

And it was his British record of 47.87 that Burras lowered last year.

Such is the quality in Britain that no-one can afford a slip-up or lapse in concentration in prelims.

He said:

“That’s the beauty of the events that me and Tom are now in. The 100 and 200 free, we’ve got good depth in that.

“The 200 free since about 2015, it’s been really good depth but now we’re starting to see that in the 100 as well so that’s really positive.

“It only benefits us for the relay as well.

“There’ll be eight guys in that final and eight of them will be wanting to get on that 4×1 so I think that’s really exciting.”

But it’s not only domestic waters the field is concerned with.

I know that everyone single one of them inside that are in that final aren’t just looking inside Britain, it’s how do they perform on the international stage?

“I think that’s really exciting as well; not everyone’s just closed tunnel on Britain, it’s how do we compete internationally which is more important.”

Dean concurred, saying:

“We saw a 47 this morning, we saw a bunch of 48s, it’s quicker already than it was last year and that’s a really good sign….people always say it’s good for the relays and it is good for the relays.

“An event like this which I feel is following in the footsteps of the 4×2 with it being strong in British Swimming – I think that’s only a good sign.”

He added:

“I always go quicker in the evening than I do in the morning so I know that whatever I’ve done there I can move it on tonight.”

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

Women’s 50 Free: Qualification Time, 24.38; Consideration Time, 24.65; British Record, 23.96

Hopkin swam the anchor leg as Britain won the inaugural Olympic mixed medley relay  in Tokyo.

Coached by Mel Marshall at Loughborough Performance Centre, the 26-year-old won bronze at short-course worlds in December.

Now she’s looking to translate that to the Olympic-sized pool and led the way in 24.72, the only woman inside 25, ahead of Rebecca Guy (25.40) and Eva Okaro (25.51).

Men’s 400IM: QT; 4:09.18; CT, 4:13.00; British Record, 4:09.18

Scott broke the British record at last year’s trials in the same Ponds Forge pool, a meeting that showcased his all-round excellence and prompting James Guy to describe him as “a skinnier version of Michael Phelps“.

He isn’t competing in the event this year with the qualification time the same as his record which was swifter than Tokyo gold.

Mark Szaranek, the 2018 Commonwealth silver medallist, led the way in 4:22.34 ahead of Angus Allison (4:23.26) and Charlie Hutchison (4:24.05).

There are no afternoon heats in the 4IM meaning the line-up for finals is confirmed.

Women’s 200 Butterfly: QT, 2:06.81; CT, 2:07.91; British Record, 2:04.83

Ellen Gandy‘s national mark has stood since the super-suited era of 2009, the only time a British woman has gone inside 2:05.

Jemma Lowe is second in the national rankings with her 2011 time of 2:05.36, the Welshwoman in attendance at Ponds Forge this week.

Alys Thomas – now retired – is the other British woman inside 2:06 with a best of 2:05.45 en-route to the Commonwealth title in 2018.

Laura Stephens stands fourth in the rankings with 2:07.04 from the Glasgow Open Meet in June 2021.

The Loughborough Performance Centre swimmer topped the field with 2:07.62 – inside the consideration time but she’ll need to replicate that in the final which, given her season’s best stands at 2:07.41 from Edinburgh, is clearly on the table.

Men’s 1500m Freestyle: QT, 14:48.52; CT, 14:54.52; British Record, 14:45.95

Two men went inside 16mins in the first three prelims with the fastest heat set for this evening.

Cameron Travis (15:59.76) and Sean McCann (15:59.84) led the way ahead of Luke McGee (16:00.16).




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