Peaty powers to victory on the opening night of 2019 British Champs

16 Apr 2019

Adam Peaty proved his championship pedigree once again as he got the better of a truly world class field to clinch the 100m Breaststroke title on the opening night of action at the British Swimming Championships.

After he, Ross Murdoch, Craig Benson and James Wilby had all posted strong times in the heats earlier in the day, the crowd we’re anticipating a thrilling race to end proceedings and they got their money’s worth.

Going out hard to reach the turn in 26.63, Peaty had really pushed the boat out, but he was forced to work hard all the way home as Wilby and Murdoch started to use their strength in the latter stages. Wilby ultimately took silver, just 0.02 outside his lifetime best set in this very pool last summer, whilst Murdoch was just a tenth outside his personal best for bronze. Despite going inside the World Championship consideration time, Craig Benson had to settle for fourth place, such was the quality of a race that was nothing short of world class.

Of his winning performance, Peaty said:

“I regained my number one spot which I obviously came out here to do, so it’s job done. I don’t know what I went out in, but I need to work on the back end a bit more. I’m going to race a little bit more going into Worlds than I did last year, because I didn’t really race in the winter, but that has given me a lot of confidence.”

Peaty’s winning time of 57.87 is inside the qualifying time for the World Championships, which will take place in South Korea in July, so by virtue of winning the race he secures his seat on the plane. Wilby also went inside the required qualifying mark, but he will have to wait on the selection meeting on Monday to be sure of his place.

The Women’s 400m Individual Medley was also nicely poised after this morning’s session, but it was Stirling based Aimee Willmott who stepped up to take the title with a determined swim that saw her sneak inside the World Championship consideration time.

After gritting her teeth down the home straight, the Commonwealth champion said:

“It wasn’t as quick as I was hoping for, as this time last year at Commies I was 4.34.9 and I knew if I could do that I would automatically secure my place, but it’s a different environment and that was a huge event. So to sneak under the consideration time I am pretty happy, but it was so painful!”

National Centre Loughborough’s Abbie Wood backed up her strong heat swim to take silver, whilst bronze went to Hannah Miley, who once again set a season’s best as she continues her comeback from ankle surgery.

Daniel Jervis his best ever performance to romp to victory in the Men’s 400m Freestyle, the Welshman stopping the clock just 0.70 outside the World Championship consideration time.

Whilst his specialist event is the 1500m, which he’ll contest on Thursday, Jervis has shown an impressive turn of pace here in Glasgow, something he’ll continue to work on in the 200m at the end of the week. Having made the British team in the 1500m two years ago and since won Commonwealth Games silver, the Swansea swimmer will have his sights firmly set on securing selection here in Glasgow.

“I’m really pleased with that, especially as it isn’t my main event. One of my main aims for this competition was to have fun, as I always swim well when I’m having fun, so I’m really happy with it. The 1500m is in two days and it’s a totally different event but I have a lot of resting to do before then – it’s going to be a good week.”

The Women’s 200m Freestyle served up a thrilling contest, with young Freya Anderson taking the race to the rest of the field with an aggressive first 100m. Still leading with 50m to go the title looked to be hers, but Holly Hibbott had other ideas. Hunting her down, the crowd were treated to a thrilling finale, with Anderson just holding on to touch 0.01 ahead of her rival.

Pleased with gold, the Ellesmere College swimmer was however a little disappointed to come within three hundredths of a second of her personal best, but not better it, which shows her ambition.

“I was quite excited for the 200m just to see how I would go – I’m more of a 100m swimmer so there was less pressure on me. Me and my coach tried to go for a different race process, which was all about going out fast and trying to hold on and I think that can pay off for some people but maybe not for me! I’m happy with the win, though the time has annoyed me a little bit, but what can you do!”

Sarah Vasey was a convincing winner in the first open final of the night, the Women’s 50m Breaststroke, and in truth she never looked under any kind of threat; the signs are positive ahead of the 100m on the final day of these championships.

In the other 50m final of the night, the Men’s 50m Backstroke, Stockport Metro’s Thomas Howdle enjoyed a marvellous breakthrough to bag the British title. Maintaining a terrific stroke rate throughout, the youngster set a massive lifetime best to get the better of Nick Pyle and Liam White. 
Watch all the action from the opening day of the British Swimming Championships 2019 again on demand here.

Click here to view all the results and times from the first day of racing, plus download a copy of the start list for day two.