Willmott lays down marker on final day of 2012 Nationals
23 June 2012
Aimee Willmott laid down a marker in her final race before London 2012 with an emphatic gold in the 400m Individual Medley on the final day of the 2012 British Gas ASA National Championships in Sheffield.
Click here for more video interviews and race highlights from Ponds Forge.Having clocked the fastest heat swim of her career with a 4:40.79 in the morning session, the English record holder kicked on in the final to touch in 4.38.68.
Lucy Spencer finished in 4.48.86 for silver while Kate Hutchinson came in for bronze in 4.49.93.
But having finished more than 10 seconds clear of the field, Willmott admitted she wanted to leave an impression in her last race before the Games.
"This week I've had quite a few hard sessions so to do that time tonight, I'm really chuffed," said Willmott.
"I've been getting in the pool a bit later to get used to swimming fast at 10 o'clock and that's starting to pay off.
"Tonight I knew I would be tired after that morning swim so I just had to get in and give it everything. Yeah, it really hurt but I'm really happy with the time."
Jack Marriott and Antony James put on a grandstand finale to the night with a photo finish in the 50m Butterfly final.
Marriott had become just the third Brit - with James and British record holder Mark Foster - to dip below 24 seconds with his 23.78 heat swim this morning.
James didn't let the Loughborough swimmer have it all his own way in the final and pushed him all the way to the wall before Marriott ultimatelytook the touch in a lifetime best 23.77.
James settled for silver in 23.93 while Adam Barrett (Loughborough University) won bronze in 24.57.
Jemma Lowe secured a comfortable victory in her last race before the Olympics as she stormed to gold in the 200m Butterfly.
The Welsh swimmer, who reached the World Championship final last season, had qualified fastest for the final and saw off her national competition with a time of 2.08.59.
Elena Sheridan came home for silver in 2.10.71 while Tilly Gray took bronze in 2.12.47.
Andrew Willis saw off a challenge from Richard Webb in the 200m Breaststroke final to win the gold in 2.11.91.
Webb pushed Willis all the way and claimed silver in 2.12.47 with Joseph Parker of Plymouth Leander taking bronze in 2.15.95.
Adam Brown led the way in the men's 100m Freestyle event. The Hatfield swimmer clocked 49.16 to get the Gold.
Having set a personal best 49.01 to become the fastest Brit over 100m this season, Grant Turner (British Gas ITC Loughborough) was second in 49.25 while Jak Scott (British Gas ITC Stirling) was third in a personal best 49.87.
Lucy Ellis was crowned national champion in the 400m Freestyle event in a winning time of 4.09.68 - nearly three seconds under her previous lifetime best.
The Scot managed to hold of a challenge from Anne Bochmann who ultimately came second in 4.09.90 ahead of City of Sheffield's Eleanor Faulkner who was third in 4.11.64.
Faulkner's team mate Lewis Coleman took the title in the men's 200m Individual Medley in a personal best 2.00.78.
There was no Olympic place at stake but after exchanging the lead with Cardiff's Xavier Mohammed throughout, the race to the wall was impossible to call.
Mohammed ultimately touched in 2.00.87 with Thomas Litten (Kelly College) in third with 2.03.43
Dan Fogg took the National title in the 1500m freestyle final. Although Ukrainian swimmer Sergii Frolov took the touch, Fogg was the first Brit home in 15.26.29.
Training partner Jack Burnell was the second Brit in 15.28.46 and Warrender's Lewis Smith third in 15.28.98.