Laura Stephens produced one of the swims of her life to rubberstamp her place in the centre lanes for the Women’s 200m Butterfly final on Saturday morning.
The Plymouth Leander swimmer smashed her lifetime best by more than half-a-second in recording a 2:07.04 in Friday evening’s heats session, finishing strongly after four well-paced laps to touch comfortably inside the 2:08.32 Tokyo consideration time for the event. It is a performance she will hope to replicate in the final as she looks to earn a place at her first Olympic Games.
Abbie Wood came close to breaking her personal best in a brilliant 200m Individual Medley swim on Friday morning – but she did not look too fatigued after that as she qualified fastest for the 400m Individual Medley final, some performance from the David Hemmings-coached athlete in what is a rare outing over the longer medley form.
Wood’s training partner Max Litchfield also put in a controlled heats display to lead the way in the men’s event, ahead of Mark Szaranek and Charlie Hutchison.
The Women’s MC 100m Breaststroke final looks set to be an intriguing one on Saturday morning, with Grace Harvey (SB5) breaking her own British record from April’s British Para-Swimming International Meet and SB6 duo Maisie Summers-Newton and Ellie Simmonds also clocking solid times in their respective heats. Scott Quin again went under his Paralympic consideration mark in the men’s contest, qualifying fastest ahead of Conner Morrison, who is just back from the World Para Swimming European Open Championships in Madeira.
In the open events, Adam Peaty will take his customary place in lane four after a dominant heats display, while Molly Renshaw – a European champion in the longer, 200m Breaststroke – pipped training partner Sarah Vasey to the title of fastest qualifier, that strong back-end pace doing the job.
The 200m Freestyle is becoming an event that you simply cannot afford to miss when it comes to British swimming – and two interesting finals are again in store on Saturday.
Cameron Kurle laid down a real marker in the men’s event, flying off the blocks and into a big lead in the final heat, before holding on well to qualify fastest overall. His heat also boasted Duncan Scott and James Guy, and they are just two of another extremely strong field of eight that will take to the pool for the final.
Lucy Hope and Tamryn Van Selm continued their promising seasons by clocking the first and second fastest times in the women’s 200m Freestyle heats, while Toni Shaw was within a second of the British S9 record.
The Men’s 200m Butterfly finale could be a showdown between City of Sheffield’s Jay Lelliott and Ed Mildred of Northampton SC, with the pair separated by a mere 0.3 seconds and leading the rest of the heats swimmers by some distance.
The third session of the day was rounded out by the Men’s and Women’s 50m Backstroke heats. The University of Stirling’s Kathleen Dawson followed up an eye-catching victory in the 200m final earlier in the day by pipping Georgia Davies to the fastest qualifier slot, with that duo set for an intriguing battle in the centre lanes tomorrow. Scott Gibson (Edinburgh University) led the way at the end of three men’s heats.
Earlier in the afternoon, the junior section of the meet had its first outing in a series of heat-declared-winner races. Below are the winners of each event.
Girls’ 50m Freestyle – Eva Okaro (Sevenoaks)
Boys’ 400m Individual Medley – Andrew Bertoli (Ellesmere College)
Girls’ 200m Individual Medley – Leah Schlosshan (City of Leeds)
Boys’ 200m Butterfly – Michael Klimaszewski (Hatfield)
Girls’ 100m Butterfly – Laura Dickinson (Lincoln Vulcans)
Boys’ 100m Backstroke – Samuel Greenbank (Cockermouth)
Girls’ 200m Backstroke – Issey-May Reeves (City of Sheffield)
Boys’ 200m Freestyle – Evan Jones (Millfield)
Girls’ 800m Freestyle – Ashleigh Baillie (City of Sheffield)