Abbie Wood thumbs up BSC 2023 MH.jpg

Strong heats performances grab attention on penultimate day

8 Apr 2023

The penultimate heats session of the 2023 British Swimming Championships saw a number of swimmers threaten consideration times ahead of an exciting series of finals this evening, with Abbie Wood and Tom Dean leading the way across the 200m Individual Medley double.

Dean (Bath Performance Centre) and Duncan Scott (University of Stirling) look set to again be part of the battle for gold in the Men’s 200m Individual Medley showpiece, as the pair produced a set of strong morning performances. 

In what will be a repeat of the 200m Individual Medley final at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, the Olympic champion pair will be among those battling for the British title. The qualification and consideration times are also a potential for the duo, who swam with different tactics across their respective heats, Dean qualifying fastest overall, while Loughborough Performance Centre's Joe Litchfield clocked the second-fastest heats time.

It was a similar story in the Women’s 200m individual Medley heats, as Loughborough Performance Centre competitor Wood was the fastest qualifier after a comfortable performance in her heat, the 24-year-old's controlled swim closely followed by City of Leeds’ Leah Schlosshan, who put in a time faster than swim that won her the European Junior title last year to qualify her in second place.

The pair both shook off early challenges in their heats before pulling into their stride on the breaststroke and controlling the freestyle to ensure there is more to give later. It promises to be a good battle between the two, with both the qualifying and consideration times only a couple of seconds quicker than their heats performances.

The next three swimmers were separated by less than a second, which ensures that close competition is maintained throughout the field, with City of Sheffield’s Candice Hall qualifying in third place and taking lane three for the final.

The Men’s 50m Freestyle saw the reigning world, European and Commonwealth champion Ben Proud take to the pool for his first event of the competition.

The Bath University man put in his trademark start to take him ahead of the field at the halfway stage – his famously high stroke rate seemingly held back as he looks to make an impression later on in the day. His performance was enough to take the victory in his heat but ultimately sees him qualify in third place.

It was Repton’s Lewis Burras who put in the fastest performance of the morning – the 23-year-old coming up just after the flags on his start before powering up to a rapid stroke rate, which he maintained through to the finish to see him take the coveted lane four ahead of what will be one of the battles of the night later on, when he will look to defend his British crown.

Millfield’s Matthew Richards took his place between the two athletes, as he also won his heat with a strong performance to qualify him for tonight’s final in second place.

Lewis Burras on the blocks 50m Freestyle BSC 2023 MH
Lewis Burras on the blocks

One of the closest events of the competition so far came from the Women’s 400m Freestyle, with the entire eight-woman field being separated by under three seconds ahead of the finals session.

It was a familiar face at the top, with Loughborough Performance Centre’s Freya Colbert the fastest qualifier with a controlled swim to set up a charge for the medals and selection times later today. Hatfield’s Shannon Stott was only a tenth of a second behind with a solid performance of her own, as she looks to make headway in an event which continues its resurgence.

Bath Performance Centre’s Leah Crisp rounds off the top three qualifiers into the final, with her performance seeing her just a few tenths behind the two centre-lane swimmers.

The Women’s 50m Backstroke resumed the battle from the 100m event on Wednesday, as Medi Harris’ well-paced sprint put her in the centre lane for the final, alongside Loughborough University’s Lauren Cox and Mount Kelly’s Blythe Kinsman – who qualified in second and third place respectively.

There was just over half-a-second separating the top six athletes ahead of what will be an exciting final, with several of the field winding down their stroke rate as they came in to the wall.

Ahead of the fastest heat of the Men’s 800m Freestyle to kick off the finals session, as well as the afternoon heats session, City of Sheffield’s Matthew Woodhall and City of Milton Keynes’ Harry Wynne-Jones were engaged in a close battle which came right the way down to the touch, as they take provisional first and second spots, with Northumberland and Durham’s Luke McGee in third.

For the full results, as well as info on how to watch tonight's finals from the stands or the comfort of your own home, check out our “What’s On?” page.