British Championships: Matt Richards Moves Past Olympic Champion Tom Dean To Win 200 Free; Amelie Blocksidge Celebrates 14th Birthday With 16:19 In 1500

Matt Richards
Matt Richards: Photo Courtesy: Morgan Harlow/British Swimming

British Championships: Matt Richards Moves Past Olympic Champion Tom Dean To Win 200 Free; Amelie Blocksidge Celebrates 14th Birthday With 16:19 In 1500

Matt Richards came past long-time leader Tom Dean with a 26.48 final 50 to win the 200 free ahead of the Olympic champion as the British Championships concluded in Sheffield.

With his time of 1:44.83, Richards went third all-time in the British rankings behind Dean with his 1:44.22 in Tokyo where Duncan Scott registered 1:44.26 for silver.

It was also a Welsh record for the 20-year-old who won gold as part of the 4×2 in Tokyo, the quartet making up the top four-finishers at Ponds Forge.

Dean finished in 1:44.93 as both men were inside the cut for the World Championships in Fukuoka and went 1-2 in the 2023 rankings, the only men inside 1:45.

James Guy was third in 1:45.85 – his fastest 200 for six years – with Scott – swimming from lane one – outside the medals in 1:45.90.

Dean has never won the national 200 free title with silver in the last two years behind Scott.

Dean, Scott, Guy and Richards have 14 Olympic medals between them, underlining the depth of quality on show at Ponds Forge.


Matt Richards: Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The tone was set in the B final won by Evan Jones, of the University of Stirling in 1:48.24.

Come the final and Dean went through the 100 0.30secs ahead of Bath Performance Centre teammate Guy with Richards a further 0.14 behind and Scott 0.36 behind the Welshman in fourth.

Come the final turn and Richards had moved into second but still with 0.48 to make up on the Olympic champion.

The Millfield swimmer powered down the last 50, moving on to the shoulder of Dean and beyond, into the wall.


Richards: 24.53/51.11/1:18.35/1:44.83

Dean: 24.23/50.67/1:17.87/1:44.93

Guy: 24.42/50.97/1:18.38/1:45.85

Richards finished the meet with a gold and two bronzes in the 50 and 100 free, going 21.98 in the dash and 48.02 in the final over two lengths following a 47.72 prelim, a world-leading time before world record-holder David Popovici fired off 47.61 at the Romanian Championships.

“Deano’s a world-class 200 freestyler – so are Duncan and Jimmy (Guy). All those guys have won individual titles and medals at world-stage events multiple times now.

“So to top the podium today is great and it’s a huge bouncing block into the summer now.

“Still lots of work to do: there were mistakes in that race that can get better and that’s just a great place to.

“We’re seeing so much depth in  the 100 and 200 free now in Britain – that’s extremely exciting for those relays and I think that’s been a real push for British Swimming over the last few years and it’s really working out.”

Dean greeted Scott in the mixed zone following the race, the respect between the racers evident.

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - APRIL 09: during Day Six of the British Swimming Championships 2023 at Ponds Forge on April 09, 2023 in Sheffield, England. (Photo by Morgan Harlow/Getty Images)

Tom Dean: Photo Courtesy: Morgan Harlow/British Swimming

He said:

“There always is. Those 200 free boys – look at the top four, Olympic champions on the 4×2 – so there’s always going to be mutual respect because of what we’ve been through and the competition we race at together, two guys 1:44, it hasn’t happened since the Olympics.

“Last year was a slight step back so it’s good it’s moving in that direction again.

“What have we got? World Champs, trials and then it’s the Games so it all bodes well.”

He too spoke of the depth of quality in the four-length event in Britain, saying:

“It is exciting. I’d rather be on the top of the podium but an event like this is so tight that anything can happen really.

“Like I said, this meet is more about the times than it is about the racing and then when you get to the summer it’s more about the racing than it is about the times.”

Blocksidge Gets Ovation After “Best Birthday Present”

Amelie Blocksidge marked her 14th birthday by swimming the longest race in the pool after a week that has seen her win silver in 8:38 in the 800 and fifth in the 400, both British age group records.

The teenager, coached by John Stout at City of Salford, led through 400 in 4:29.75 after she and Fleur Lewis pulled away from the field.

Blocksidge reached halfway ahead in 8:10.23 and moved away from Lewis to go through 1000 holding almost a two-second advantage in 10:54.11.

The teenager extended her lead to take victory in 16:19.67, more than six seconds ahead of Lewis and the performance earned her an ovation at Ponds Forge.

Lewis was next home in 16:25.78 with Michaella Glenister rounding out the podium in 16:44.51.

It was a 12-second PB for Blocksidge and the 16th-fastest time by a British woman as she went eighth all-time in the domestic rankings, headed by Jazz Carlin and her national record of 15:47.26.

Carlin alone has been inside 16mins in British waters with Keri-Anne Payne, the 2008 10k silver medallist, going 16:06.67 and world, European and Commonwealth medallist Becky Cooke 16:14.70, only a little over five seconds quicker than Blocksidge. Exalted company indeed.

She beamed:

“I’m really happy, it’s the best birthday present really, isn’t it? I’m over the moon.”

The Ponds Forge crowd were cheering her along, something she was aware of.

“I could hear quite a lot of it: I’ve got lots of my family in the crowd and got my granddad and granny in Australia watching me.

“It helps me a lot knowing I’ve got people behind me cheering me on, yeah, it really helps.”

Blocksidge has mingled with Olympic and world champions in Sheffield this week, and she smiled:

“It’s really good swimming with Olympians, especially in the 400IM, a really good experience, loved it.”

And her ambitions for the future?

“To break more British records!”

Morgan Claims Backstroke Clean Sweep

Oliver Morgan

Oliver Morgan: Photo Courtesy: Morgan Harlow/British Swimming

Ollie Morgan was looking for a backstroke clean sweep having won both the 50 and 100 albeit without registering a consideration time.

He led the way into the final in 1:58.78 ahead of Olympic bronze medallist Luke Greenbank in 1:59.12, the pair the only men inside 2mins.

Cameron Brooker led through 50 in 27.07 with Brodie Williams going ahead from lane two in 56.46 at the halfway point.

The Commonwealth champion still led at the final turn in 1:26.45 ahead of Charlie Brown and Brooker.

It looked as though Williams was set for victory but Morgan came back with each stroke, passing Greenbank and then got the touch in 1:57.17, just 0.01 ahead of Williams (1:57.18).

Greenbank was third in 1:57.67.

While Morgan completed the backstroke sweep, it presents a real selector poser given no swimmer has posted a consideration time.

Britain will want to ensure the men’s medley relay book their spot for Paris 2024 in Fukuoka so who to select will be a poser.

Morgan said:

“I didn’t see all three coming, I can’t say I did. Training has been going really well, I knew there were going to be some good swims on the cards – but the treble is the dream.

“He [coach Gary Humpage] doesn’t like to take much credit, but everything comes down to him – the philosophy he gives us all, the whole environment he makes is so enjoyable.

“Everything I do outside of swimming, the discipline and everything, it’s a credit to him because it’s of all his mentoring he’s given me. The swims are pretty good, so to be on that World Championship team would mean the world.”

Peters Flies To Top Of Rankings

Jacob Peters completed the 50/100 double with a commanding win in 22.89, 0.14 outside Ben Proud’s british record of 22.75 set at Budapest 2017 en-route to the world title.

It elevated Peters to the top of the world rankings ahead of Thomas Ceccon and his 23.13 from the Lausanne Swim Cup in February.

Proud – winner of the 50 free on Saturday – was second in 23.37 with Lewis Fraser completing the podium in 23.62.

Hanlon Wins Second Gold


Kara Hanlon: Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

To book an outright slot, one of the field had to do something no other British woman has done and go inside 1:06.

Kara Hanlon led the way into the final with the Scot seeking to land the 50/100 double following victory in the opening event of the meet.

Imogen Clark reached halfway ahead of Hanlon by just 0.01 in 31.53 but the University of Edinburgh swimmer came back on the second 50 to touch in 1:06.83.

Clark was second in 1:07.92 with Angharad Evans next home in 1:08.05.

Scottish Record For Macinnes

A stringent qualification time means that to make or be considered for the team would entail the first journey inside 57 for a British woman.

Keanna Macinnes set the pace as the only woman inside 59 in prelims and she was second at halfway in 27.23, 0.16 behind leader Harriet Jones and ahead of Laura Stephens.

A tight race down the second 50 saw Macinnes take the win in 57.97 for a new Scottish record ahead of Stephens (58.14) and Jones (58.49).








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