Michael Jamieson clocked the world’s fastest time as he stormed to 200m breaststroke victory at the British Gas Swimming Championships in Sheffield last night.
The Olympic silver medallist became the first swimmer to clock a sub-2:08 time this year with a commanding victory at Ponds Forge.
Jamieson was nearly a second ahead of rival Andrew Willis – but both were inside the qualifying time for next month’s World Championships in Barcelona – and showed no ill effects from the tendon injury that disrupted his preparations. Scottish team-mate Craig Benson touched home in fourth. But Jamieson’s sights are now firmly set on Spain, where Hungary’s Daniel Gyurta, who pipped him to Olympic gold, is the man to beat.
“I love the big events and love it when the pressure is on and get the best out of myself if I haven’t had the preparation I want and things haven’t gone my way,” he said.
“I’m delighted with the time but hopefully my injuries have healed up and I can get back to doing some real training over the next month. I have had a partial tear in my bicep tendon about four or five weeks ago and it’s just been a pain as it doesn’t heal as a muscular injury does.
“I’ve not been able to lift weights so I’ve lost a bit of strength and weight as a result of that. The positive is I don’t feel like I am 100 per cent here but I managed to pull something out and sometimes it goes that way. So the plan is now to get some good prep in and I should be able to go faster in Barcelona.”
Robbie Renwick added to his victory in the 400m freestyle with a win over half the distance, clocking 1:46.63 to finish well ahead of nearest rival Ieuan Lloyd. The Commonwealth champion admits the late season trials, being tested this year in a bid to improve a disappointing showing at last year’s Olympics, is taking some getting used to.
But he insists there is more to come in the weeks ahead. “The time was pretty good as well so I can’t complain, I’ve only been rested for nine days,” he said.
“I’m really excited for Barcelona now. The World Championships are what it is all about this season, I think I can surprise myself there.
Elsewhere, Hannah Miley advanced sixth quickest into the 200m medley final and admitted adding to her success over 400m will not be easy.
Miley was once the baby of the British swim team but she’ll be the oldest in today’s final, in which teenager Siobhan Marie O’Connor will start favourite.
“It’s getting harder every year, there’s a lot of youngsters coming through nipping on my heels,” she said.
“I’m not going down without a fight but I think that title’s probably going to be gone. The 400 medley I’ve been really chuffed with and eight years in a row, man I feel old.”
Meanwhile, Benson insists he is on course after just missing out on a medal behind Jamieson in the 200m breaststroke. The Warrender Baths swimmer believes he’s in shape for his principal target – the 100m breaststroke, with qualification for the World Championships his key ambition.
“The 100m is coming up and I am confident in that as it was my main aim coming here,” he said. “I’ve had a PB in the 50 and 200 so I’m confident I can do well in the 100. The quality of this event is great and pushing people on. I can’t have any complaints about my performance, I knew I was only going to have a chance if the other guys were not on form – and they were.”
Also at the Sheffield event last night, Jazmin Carlin took 19 seconds off Keri-anne Payne’s British record in the 1,500 metres freestyle. Carlin set a new Welsh record with a stunning swim in the 800m freestyle on Thursday night and yesterday she clocked 15 minutes 47.26 seconds, the fastest in the world this year by 13 seconds and less than three off the European record. Second-placed Jessica Thielmann also ducked inside the qualification time for Barcelona.
l Michael Jamieson is taking part in British Gas SwimBritain, a programme aiming to encourage half a million people to improve their fitness by swimming more regularly by 2015. Find out more at www.swimbritain.co.uk/challenge