World-best times, big PBs, title milestones and 26 medals among haul for Bath-based swimmers at 2022 British Swimming Champs
There were five golds, including a 20th national title for James Guy and a world-leading time for Ben Proud, among an impressive haul of 26 medals for University of Bath-based swimmers during the 2022 British Swimming Championships at Ponds Forge, Sheffield.
Guy achieved his milestone in a men’s 100m butterfly final that featured four Bath-based swimmers in the top six, the double Olympic champion holding off British Swimming National Centre Bath team-mate Jacob Peters (51.93) to take gold in 51.69. Ed Mildred (52.55) was fourth and Sports Performance student Josh Gammon (53.33), coached by Andrei Vorontsov, was sixth.
That medal added to the gold that Guy won in the 200m butterfly on Day 2 of the championships, his time of 1:56.31 being exactly one second ahead of nearest rival Mason Wilby. University of Bath graduate Jay Lelliott took bronze in 1:57.77, setting the Commonwealth consideration time for Team England in the process.
Guy also won bronze (1:46.44) in a thrilling last race of the week, a world-class 200m freestyle final that saw training partner Tom Dean (1:45.73) pipped to silver by Duncan Scott in a reverse of their Olympic result in Tokyo.
Dean, who had already been pre-selected in the 200m freestyle for both the World Championships and Commonwealth Games after winning Olympic gold, secured two further berths in both squads after setting new personal bests of 48.06 and 1:57.18 while winning silver in the 100m freestyle and 200m individual medley respectively.
“The 200m freestyle at the end of this week is always so special but there was no pressure on that race at all, I knew I’d booked my ticket,” said Dean. “What I really wanted to do was get that 100m free and 200m IM sorted. I got PBs and qualification in both of them, which is brilliant.
“I haven’t trained my 200m IM in three years, so to come and pop a 1:57.1, I wasn’t expecting that at all. It’s probably the best week I could’ve hoped for.”
Sunday night also saw Proud power his way to a sixth British Swimming Championships 50m butterfly gold medal with the fastest time in the world this year (23.09), with Peters again runner-up in a new PB of 23.47.
University of Bath swimmer Proud, who also won 50m freestyle silver (21.91), said: “That was much better than I expected. Me and my coach [Mark Skimming] spoke about the race this morning, really focused on small details, and it’s one of those races where I executed them and it paid off.
“I had to make the most of being pre-selected, which is what we’ve done. It’s about building through the year. A few of us are quite lucky to be able to train through and then peak in the summer.”
The first gold of the week for a Bath-based swimmer went to Economics and Mathematics student Leah Crisp, supported by a Santander Scholarship, who was four seconds clear of the field in the 800m freestyle (8:45.98). She also won bronze over 1,500m (16:56.30).
Freya Anderson had won the first medal, being pipped to the 200m freestyle title by just two-hundredths of a second by Abbie Wood during a thrilling final. Anderson was also edged into second by University of Bath alumna Anna Hopkin in the 100m freestyle (53.92) but finally secured gold in the 400m freestyle in a Commonwealth Games consideration time of 4:08.46.
Sport & Exercise Science graduate Hopkin continued her stellar freestyle form as she won 50m freestyle gold (24.85).
Tokyo Olympian Brodie Williams claimed a hat-trick of silver medals in the 100m backstroke (54.68), 200m backstroke (1:57.90) and 400m individual medley (4:14.69), finishing just ahead of University of Bath swimmers Jacob Greenow (bronze, 4:18.41) and Will Ryley (4th, 4:19.46) in the latter event. Sports Performance student Jono Adam joined Williams on the podium in the 100m backstroke, winning bronze in 54.75.
Sports Performance graduate Luke Turley, a former Santander Sports Scholar who is now part of the National Centre Bath squad, earned three podium places as he finished runner-up in the 400m freestyle (3:48.52) and 800m freestyle (7:54.52) – pipping training partner Kieran Bird to silver in both – and took bronze in the 1,500m freestyle (15:20.77).
Holly Hibbott beat training partner Emily Large to the bronze medal in the 200m butterfly (2:10.27).
Forty-nine Bath-based swimmers competed across the course of the week, with many also reaching B finals and ‘Priority Paris’ finals for potential 2024 Olympians.
Roll of honour
GOLD: Freya Anderson (women’s 400m freestyle, 4:08.46); Leah Crisp (women’s 800m freestyle, 8:45.98); James Guy (men’s 100m butterfly, 51.69; 200m butterfly, 1:56.31); Ben Proud (men’s 50m butterfly, 23.09).
SILVER: Freya Anderson (women’s 100m freestyle, 53.92; 200m freestyle, 1:57.63); Tom Dean (men’s 100m freestyle, 48.06; 200m freestyle, 1:45.73; 200m IM 1:57.18); Jacob Peters (men’s 50m butterfly, 23.47; 100m butterfly, 51.93); Ben Proud (men’s 50m freestyle, 21.91); Luke Turley (men’s 400m freestyle, 3:48.52; 800m freestyle, 7:54.52); Brodie Williams (men’s 100m backstroke, 54.68; 200m backstroke, 1:57.90; 400m IM, 4:14.69).
BRONZE: Jono Adam (men’s 100m backstroke, 54.75); Kieran Bird (men’s 400m freestyle, 3:48.58; 800m freestyle, 7:55.95); Leah Crisp (women’s 1,500m freestyle, 16:56.30); Jacob Greenow (men’s 400m IM, 4:18.41); James Guy (men’s 200m freestyle, 1:46.44); Holly Hibbott (women’s 200m butterfly, 2:10.27); Luke Turley (men’s 1,500m freestyle, 15:20.77).