Ben Proud and James Guy both swam strong races in the penultimate finals session at the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships.
Up first was sprinter Ben Proud in the Men’s 50m Freestyle final, the 2017 World Champs bronze medallist in this event hoping to replicate that feat. Third fastest coming into the final, Proud knew he would be in the mix, but a strong line-up made it tough to call.
Getting off the blocks well, Proud applied pressure the whole way but ultimately fell just 0.1 seconds short of the podium as he finished fifth in 21.55. Getting quicker in each and every round, Proud could be proud of his efforts, even though he didn’t have any silverware to show for it.
Reflecting afterwards, Proud said:
“The swim felt pretty good, but the time was only a fraction faster than last night. I knew what it would take to get onto the podium and I was exactly right, I just didn’t quite execute the race as I would have hoped. But at the same time I gave it my all and that was the best race I could bring.
“I would have liked to have been on the podium but I know where my full potential lies and this doesn’t detract from my motivation for next year – it is going to be a busy year.”
James Guy was also in action on Saturday night, contesting the Men’s 100m Butterfly final after a busy week of racing. Having swum well in both the heats and semi-finals, the Jol Finck coached athlete lined up knowing that he’d need a big season’s best if he were to challenge for a podium place, but that certainly wasn’t out of the question given a number of season’s bests already this week.
Lining up in lane one, Guy produced another season’s best, but couldn’t quite haul himself into contention for a medal down the final 25 metres. In the end the Bath man finished seventh in 51.62.
Of his efforts, Guy said:
“That was a solid swim, another season’s best, so we’ll take it. I always back-end the race as much as I can, but tonight I was hurting a little bit. I was ranked 15th coming in so to make the final is a great improvement – I’m not where I was a few years ago but I’m getting there slowly.
“I had a really good three month block of training coming into the meet, after a bit of a reality check after trials, and ever since then my times have dropped quite a bit, so what we’ve been doing has been working so hopefully I can carry that on into Tokyo.”
After a personal best in the heats this morning, Anna Hopkin went in semi-final two of the Women’s 50m Freestyle, looking to continue the breakthrough form she has shown at these championships, which includes a British 100m Freestyle textile record on Thursday.
Drawn in lane seven, Hopkin attacked the race in her usual
style, swimming her own race but well in the mix. In the usual blanket finish
of a 50m race at this level, Hopkin touched fourth in 24.34, knocking a
humungous half a second off her personal best set just this morning in the
heats. That swim also makes her the second fastest Brit of all-time.
That time was good enough for sixth overall, earning her a place in tomorrow night’s final. A naturally delighted Hopkin said afterwards:
“I’m so happy with that – I can’t quite believe I just did that time. I’m amazed! It felt really good, my start was much better than this morning but I glided into the finish, so there’s still more to work on.”
Of the prospect of tomorrow’s final, she added:
“I’m so happy to make a final in my first World Champs. I’m just going to try to stay relaxed and not let it get on top of me – I’ve no pressure so I’ll just go for it and enjoy it.”
The final day of action kicks off at 10.00 (02.00 UK time) tomorrow morning, with Aimee Willmott going in the 400m IM and our medley relay teams looking for final places. You can catch the racing live on FINA TV
Full results from the FINA World Aquatics Championships can be found here.
Highlights will be shown on the BBC Two as follows:
15:00 – 16:00:
15.30 – 17.00: Sunday
*highlights will also be available on the red button at select times.