STEPHEN Milne might have missed out on booking a date against the best the rest of the world has to offer, but there was no wiping the smile off his face after he claimed gold on day three of the British Swimming Championships.
Milne was in for one of the most gruelling races of this year’s British Swimming Championships as he took to the water at the London Aquatics Centre for the 1,500m freestyle.
But the Perth swimmer showed no signs of grimace as he led from start to finish to take home the gold medal with a time of 14:58.25 minutes. Such was Milne’s dominance that he finished more than six seconds ahead of his nearest challenger Caleb Hughes in second, while Jay Lelliott took bronze in 15:09.51.
However, there was a tinge of disappointment for Milne as his winning time was some way off the qualifying standard for this summer’s World Championships – set at 14:51.06.
But Milne was refusing to be downbeat, instead keen to focus on the leaps and bounds he has made from last year’s edition of the championsips.
“That time is 20 seconds faster than what I did last year so I am very happy with that performance,” he said.
“I was just swimming my own race and I was thinking about my own tactics so I am quite happy with how it went.
“I will do my best in the training and work as hard as I can and, hopefully, I can do well next year and make the team for Rio.
“I am happy with how it went. We are all aiming for getting into some team but I was very happy with my performance and I can’t ask for much more really. I was just focusing on myself and not thinking on the other competitors and I am just happy with how it goes. I might make the team and I will have to see how they select the team but I am just happy with how it went – I couldn’t have done any more. Bit by bit I am improving so I can’t ask for more.”
There was more joy for Hannah Miley as she added to her 200m butterfly gold by taking home silver from the 200m individual medley.
Miley touched in 2:11.65 to finish behind winner Siobhan-Marie O’Connor, and she believes it is all systems go ahead of her preferred 400m IM event on Saturday.
“The 200m IM is always a big sprint race. It is very different to the 400m, so for me to get up there and keep up with Siobhan is always going to be a challenge,” said the Inverurie swimmer. “The 200m IM is one of those events where I did it to try and help my 400 and it is a lot quicker than what I was doing last year so that is fantastic progression.
“It is obviously just outside the consideration time for the World Championships, but the 400m is my main focus which is on Saturday so that is where things are heading.
“My title earlier this week was completely out of the blue, I never expected to get that. It is great to see that progression and I need to look at the splits to see which strokes I am on top of and which strokes I need to improve for the 400m IM.
“It is going a lot better than last year’s trials so far, so fingers crossed it goes well for me on Saturday.”
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