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Walker-Hebborn takes gold in backstroke battle

21 June 2012

Chris Walker-Hebborn struck 200m Backstroke gold as three British men secured individual Olympic qualification times on the second day of the 2012 British Gas ASA National Championships in Sheffield.

Click here for more video interviews and race highlights from Ponds Forge.There were two Olympic spots up for grabs in the men's 200m Backstroke and after swimming within the qualification time this morning, Walker-Hebborn put in a determined swim to claim the top spot in tonight’s final.

He finished in a season’s best time of 1.57.17 – well under the 1.58.48 required for nomination to Team GB. It also puts him ninth in the world rankings.

“I’m relieved - I wanted that so much,” he said. “It is an absolutely brilliant feeling, I’m so happy.

“That race was for my mum, she’s an absolute star. She has been there through everything and she’s  my biggest believer. So that was for her.”

Guildford’s Marco Loughran fought back in the final 50m to secure silver in 1.58.34 dipping under the required time to also put him in contention for Olympic selection.

Warrender's Craig McNally set a personal best 1:58.45 to also duck under the FINA A time but finished an agonising bronze on the day.

Welsh teenager Ieuan Lloyd was the third Olympic qualifier of the night, setting a personal best of 1.47.55 for victory in the 200m Freestyle.

Having been denied an Olympic 400m Freestyle berth by David Carry just 24 hours earlier, the 18-year old was determined not to let a second chance slip by and showed his intention leading the race from the gun.

Carry staged a late attack on the final 50m but the 30-year old Scot had to settle for silver in 1.47.86 as Lloyd held on to the lead.

“It is an amazing feeling,” said Lloyd. “I had to push out hard and on the third length I really went for it and made a bit of a break from the crowd.

“On the last length I was breathing towards David Carry and I could see him coming back but I was telling myself no, not this time and I managed to find the wall before he did.”

Bronze medal went to Rob Bale of British Gas ITC Stirling in 1.48.97.

"I could see him coming back but I told myself, no, not this time, and managed to hit the wall before he did," - Ieuan LloydPlymouth Leander’s Antony James narrowly missed the Olympic qualifying time as he won gold in the 100m Butterfly.

Facing competition from Jack Marriot of Loughborough University, James took the win in 52.46 - just 0.1 outside the qualification standard while Marriot was second in 53.12. Third place went to Ian Hulme of Peterlee in 53.79.

Derventio Excel’s Molly Renshaw took the gold in the 200m Breastroke final, touching the wall in 2.27.72 and also narrowly missing out on the Olympic qualification time, falling just 0.81 seconds shy of the standard.

Defending champion Renshaw had a strong final 50m to take the win ahead of Millfield’s Danielle Lowe who took silver in a new personal best of 2.30.74 and Corrie Scott of Edinburgh University was third in 2.30.89, also a pb.

Lauren Quigley put in a lifetime best performance tonight taking the title in the 50m Backstroke in 28.15.

The 17-year old City of Manchester swimmer took the gold ahead of Georgia Davies who took silver in 28.40 and Ekaterina Avramova (29.24) in third.

Loughborough University’s Amy Smith dominated the 100m Freestyle final, winning gold in 55.03 ahead of Jessica Lloyd who took silver in 55.34 and Rebecca Turner bronze in 55.99.

Smith also clinched bronze in the 50m Butterfly, finishing in 27.56 behind gold medallist and teammate Rachel Lefley’s personal best 27.04 and Guildford’s Ellen Thomas (27.43 PB).

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