Proud powers on to another World Champs podium

17 Feb 2024

Ben Proud completed a hat-trick of successive World Championship medals in the Men's 50m Freestyle with a breathless bronze on the penultimate day of action at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha. 

On the back of claiming the world title in 2022 and then bronze in Fukuoka last summer, Proud was part of another thrilling sprint finale here, a superb start and breakout seeing him lead after 25m. 

It was a battle across the middle lanes, the Brit in lane three powering all the way into the wall alongside Cameron McEvoy of Australia in lane four and Ukraine's Vladyslav Bukhov in five, with Bukhov ultimately taking gold and McEvoy the silver. 

Considering he also won European and Commonwealth gold in the 50m Freestyle across an unprecedented year of success in 2022, Ben has now stepped on to the 50m Freestyle podium at the last five major long-course internationals - testament to his unerring ability to deliver on the biggest stages.

"I've been in multiple World Championship finals now, and I said a couple of years ago that if I'm not going to be the best in the world, I just want to be consistent, constantly top five - and in doing that, it delivers more medals now and then," said the two-time Olympic finalist.

"I really take it as a privilege to be here and it's part of my career, hopefully soon-to-be legacy of being a British sprinter. All eyes are on Paris, so this is like a nice token to take back to the team and the family, and another point along the journey.

"I'm enjoying the sport a lot more than I used to. I look forward to coming out into the finals and racing at the Championships, whereas maybe when I was a bit younger, I was a bit more afraid and intimidated. Now I'm just loving the process, and every chance I get to stand in a world final and have a chance to perform is another moment along this journey."

Ben Proud Doha 2024 GettyImages

Proud's season thus far has also included his first-ever European Short Course title in the 50m Freestyle back in December - and with two medals from two major internationals in the bank already on the run-in to the Olympics, the 29-year-old feels he is gaining plenty of valuable learnings as he prepares for a crucial few weeks and months ahead.

"Looking at this season, short course and long course, I did prioritise the European Short Course Champs to get that title there, and then of course the Olympic trials coming up at the British Swimming Championships," he added.

"This World Championships fell in the middle of a big block of work. That's not to say I didn't focus on it, but I'm not as prepared as I could be, so it really was about coming in and being in another Championship final, learning how to race the race and learning more about myself, my body and my mind to start to piece things together. I feel like I'll have a lot of stuff to look at from this week, good and bad, to take with me as I go along to Paris."

The other British final involvement on Saturday night saw Freya Colbert contesting the Women's 200m Backstroke showpiece. Freya could not move things on from a solid semi-final showing, placing eighth in the final - but she will be back in the 400m Individual Medley on the final day to round out her third consecutive World Championship campaign, which has already brought a memorable silver medal as part of the Women's 4x200m Freestyle Relay.

Anna Hopkin, meanwhile, continues to show impressive form over the sprint freestyle events. Having already anchored GB to a Mixed 4x100m Medley Relay bronze and placed fifth in the 100m Freestyle, the Olympic gold medallist booked herself a lane for Sunday's 50m Freestyle final, building on a strong start in her semi-final to keep the stroke rate high all the way to the wall to place third in the faster semi and rank fifth overall at this stage.

Anna Hopkin close-up race ready Doha 2024
Anna Hopkin

"I was really happy with that time. I knew that it's pretty quick to make it in, I thought I'd have to go something similar to this morning, and obviously I wanted to go a bit quicker and there were a few things I knew I could work on," said Anna after the race.

"I'm just glad that I put everything together, got a good time and then I can enjoy the final tomorrow. I feel really strong racing, which is a good sign. It's definitely hard to recover sometimes when you're in a hard block of training, but I'm still managing to find some speed, so that's really promising for when we are tapered." 

The British Swimming Championships are just around the corner (2nd-7th April 2024). See Britain's best swimmers in action ahead of this summer's Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris by getting your tickets NOW.