England’s Siobhan-Marie O’Connor sounded a warning for the Commonwealth Games this summer with a terrific victory in a 200m individual medley that saw an end to a seven-year medal run for Scot Hannah Miley at yesterday’s British Gas Championships at the Tollcross International Centre.
In the pool that will host the Glasgow Games, Miley was the fastest qualifier from the heats but she couldn’t live with the pace set by 18-year-old O’Connor, who had already won the 200m freestyle on Thursday.
The English swimmer was streets ahead after the butterfly leg and she held on to win in 2:09.71, a new English record and the second fastest time in the world this year. Aimee Wilmott was second in 2:10.80, while Miley, the champion for six years and then bronze medallist 12 months ago, had to settle for fourth in 2:11.99.
But Miley, 24, has had an extremely heavy programme, winning six titles at last week’s Scottish Gas Championships and she had the consolation that her time was her quickest of the year.
O’Connor said: “I’m really happy with the swim. I went out fast and didn’t have a lot left coming down the last 25m. But I really dug deep.”
In last night’s 100m freestyle semi-finals, Scot Sian Harkin missed out on the final by just one place. She was ninth fastest in 56.08secs.
Warrender’s Megan Briggs finished just outside the medals in a 200m backstroke won by Lauren Quigley (Stockport Metro) in 2:09.79. The Scot, who swam for GB in last year’s European Junior Championships, clocked 2:14.52.
On Saturday, the 100m breaststroke produced a range of celebration for the Scots. Ross Murdoch won in a Scottish record 59.56secs, Michael Jamieson took bronze and seventh-placed Craig Benson clinched a Commonwealth Games nomination time. Murdoch was just 0.01secs outside the British record.
Tonight, Murdoch will be out to add another gold in the 50m breaststroke. He was the fastest in the semi-finals in 27.57secs and will be joined in the final by another three Scots, Mark Tully, Euan Inglis and Joe Welstead.
For Jamieson, third place in 1:00.503 in the 100m was a signal that he will concentrate on his favourite 200m at Glasgow 2014.
As for Benson, seventh place in 1:01:50 ended a year of misery. He qualified for the Olympics at the age of 17 but then missed Team GB at last year’s World Championships.
Having failed to achieve the Glasgow 2014 breaststroke qualifying at last week’s Scottish trials, the British Championships was his last chance. He made the 100m time and, by squeezing home ahead of Edinburgh University’s Calum Tait, he made the Scottish top three.
“It’s been a very tough few months,” said the 19-year-old. “I was really nervous going into the final but it is a huge relief.”
Duncan Scott (FIRST) completed an impressive junior double. He had won the 200m freestyle on Friday and added the 100m in 50.67sec.