University of Bath-based swimmer Siobhan-Marie O’Connor completed an outstanding 2014 in fitting style as she won a hat-trick of silver medals at the FINA World Short-Course Championships in Doha.
The 19-year-old was only denied gold in the 100m and 200m individual medley finals by Hungarian Katinka Hosszu, who set world records in both events in the process.
O’Connor, who is coached by Dave McNulty and Graeme Antwhistle at the British Gas National Centre at the University of Bath, smashed the British record twice en route to the 100m final, where she finished runner-up in 57.83secs. Australia’s Emily Seebohm took the bronze medal.
Hosszu finished four seconds clear of the field in the 200m final but O’Connor’s time of 2min 5.87secs was three-hundredths of a second quicker than training partner Sophie Allen’s previous British record. The USA’s Melanie Margalis beat GB’s Hannah Miley to the bronze medal.
O’Connor had started her medal haul by teaming up with fellow University of Bath swimmer Chris Walker-Hebborn, Adam Peaty and Fran Halsall to win 4x50m mixed medley relay silver behind Brazil in a British record time of 1:37.46.
British Swimming won seven medals in total and a delighted O’Connor said: “It’s been really good.
“Coming here, I didn’t really know what to expect because I love short course and long course but I am probably better at long course.
“It has been a really good meet on the back of a really good trip – we went to Thailand for a camp just before this and we got a good block of training in.
“We’ve had a good meet as GB. We had an amazing summer as a team so to come here to carry on a solid year is great. It’s a small team but it’s a close team.”
Walker-Hebborn finished seventh in the men’s 50m backstroke final in 23.33secs – just 0.23 seconds outside the medals. France’s Florent Manaudou won gold in a world-record time of 22.22.
O’Connor – who won six medals at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games – will find out next week whether she has won the inaugural British Swimming Athlete of the Year award.
Also on the shortlist of five are Adam Peaty, Fran Halsall, Jazz Carlin and Ross Murdoch. Votes can be cast at http://www.swimming.org/britishswimming/swimming/athlete-of-the-year/ and the winner will be announced on Tuesday, December 16.