Abbie Wood throws down gauntlet at National Winter Championships

Loughborough University’s Abbie Wood threw down a gauntlet to her challengers with an impressive display in the Swim England National Winter Championships 400m Individual Medley heats.

The 19-year-old was the fastest qualifier by more than five seconds as she clocked 4:38.13 to prove she is the one to beat in the A Final.

City of Sheffield’s Amy Bell was second quickest in 4:43.16 with Plymouth Leander’s Laura Stephens not far behind in a time of 4:43.79.

Only 0.23 seconds separated City of Peterborough’s Amelia Monaghan (4:45.03) and fifth fastest Daisy Anderson, Thanet Swim, who clocked 4:45.26.

Also reaching the A Final were Leicester Sharks’ Michaella Glenister (4:46.17), Wirral Metro’s Tori Sopp (4:46.62), Wycombe District’s Caitlin Mackay (4:48.46), City of Birmingham’s Elizabeth Kingham (4:48.72) and Northampton’s Ailsa McDonald (4:49.30).

There was disappointment for Camden Swiss’ Ally Larson, who had one of the fastest entry times for the event, as she was disqualified.

Litchfield brothers cruise into final

The Litchfield brothers cruised into the Men’s 400m Individual Medley Final with Max almost three seconds clear of the field.

He recorded a time of 4:13.74 to finish 2.91 seconds ahead of his younger brother Joe, who was second fastest qualifier in 4:16.65.

High Performance Centre Ontario’s Mack Darragh was third in 4:16.94, followed by Bath University’s Jacob Greenow (4:17.12) and Hatfield’s Nathan Hughes (4:17.17).

Warrington’s Matthew Domville (4:19.04), City of Manchester Aquatics’ Thomas Paine (4:21.58), the Loughborough University duo of Nathan Wells (4:22.13) and James Brown (4:23.27) plus Mount Kelly’s Robbie Jones also reached the A Final.

Hopkin second fastest but sets new PB

Anna Hopkin set a new personal best to book her place in the 50m Butterfly A Final.

The 22-year-old Ealing swimmer knocked 0.44 seconds off her previous best time of 26.50, set at the 2016 National Winter Championships, as she finished in 26.06.

That was 0.03 behind the fastest qualifier, High Performance Centre Ontario’s Peneloppe Oleksiak who finished in 26.03.

The Loughborough University pair of Emily Crane (26.64) and Emily Barclay (26.70) were next quickest, followed by Bangor’s Emma Reid and Plymouth Leander’s Laura Stephens who both recorded a time of 26.94.

Also reaching the A Final were City of Sheffield’s Kate Clifton (27.06), Poole’s Jasmine McCrea (27.32), Mount Kelly’s Emily Haimes (27.33) and Loughborough University’s Ciara Standing (27.37).

Personal bests fall in Men’s 50m Butterfly

Sam Horrocks also set a new personal best as he finished fastest qualifier in the men’s 50m Butterfly.

Horrocks, 24, of City of Manchester Aquatics, clocked 23.52 which was 0.26 seconds quicker than the time of 23.78 he set at the COAST Grand Prix in Aberdeen in November 2016.

Second-fastest was Plymouth Leander’s Edoardo Valsecchi who also set a new personal best as he touched home in 23.79.

That was 0.21 seconds ahead of his previous quickest time of 24.00 set at the 2016 National Winter Championships.

Loughborough University’s Brian O’Sullivan was third quickest qualifier in 24.03.

The next three fastest qualifiers all lowered their own personal bests.

City of Sheffield’s Cameron Brooks-Clarke knocked 0.27 off his time to finish in 24.14, Plymouth Leander’s Thomas Beeley, clocked 24.24, which was 0.46 seconds quicker than his previous best, while Warrington’s Matthew Domville shaved 0.40 off his record as he finished in 24.42.

Loughborough University’s Kevin Wallbank also set a new PB as he clocked 24.44, 0.22 lower than his previous best.

Also reaching the A Final were City of Derby’s Christian Rotundu (24.45), while Crewe Flyers’ James Watson and East Leeds’ Ryan Flanagan both finished on 24.47.