Chloe Tutton, one of the new generation of British swimmers, produced a shock win at Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow last night and should be rewarded with a plane ticket to the Olympic Games in Rio this summer.
At the British Championships doubling as the Team GB trials, the 20-year-old easily claimed the title of swimmer of the evening and her 2:22.34 British record in the 200m breaststroke was close enough to the Olympic qualifying time to all but secure one of the nominated selections.
“I didn’t expect it, but I suppose that’s my own lack of confidence,” said the bubbly City of Cardiff swimmer. “But I overcame it and it is my dream to go to an Olympics. But now it’s not in my hands.”
Scotland’s Mark Szaranek, back from the University of Florida, produced a great swim in the 200m butterfly, finishing second to surprise winner, Adam Mallett.
In one of the best races of the night, Mallett, 26, touched in 1:58.02 with the Fifer inches behind in 1:58.20. But neither is likely to be selected for Rio.
For 20-year-old Szaranek, who was coached by his Dad, John, before moving to the States two years ago, it was still a very encouraging swim.
“It was a big personal best,” he said. “Two and a half seconds improvement. It’s not even an event that I’ve swum very much. Out in Florida, I’ve been swimming yards and this is my first long course meet of the year.
“I train alongside [fellow-Scot] Dan Wallace and there are actually eight of us from Florida here this week. They really know what they are doing out there.”
For Scottish record holder Cameron Brodie, the Olympic dream ended in a huge disappointment. He went into the race as the defending champion and the favourite and had been upbeat before the start.
But he never really got into the mix and finished outside the medals in fourth place. For the two-time Commonwealth Games swimmer, a first Olympics remained out of reach.
In the women’s 100m backstroke, Georgia Davies made it another memorable night for the Welsh by taking the title in 59.64 secs, although it was outside the Rio qualifying time.
“But I hope it is good enough,” said the 25-year-old, who has a double chance of selection in the medley relay. “I’ll just have to wait and see. Whatever happens, I’m really pleased with the swim and to get my British crown back.
“I was terrible at the world championship trials last year but I’m delighted to be back and swimming under a minute. It’s a tough event. People are swimming so fast all over the world.”
England’s Lizzie Simmonds was second in just over a minute, but her main focus is the 200m backstroke. “That’s always my bigger event but this was a good start to the week,” she said. “Now I’m looking forward to Friday.”
Kathleen Dawson set a Scottish record of 1:00.70 in the morning heats and made it into the final. She was a little slower in 1:01.12 in the final and that was good enough for fifth place.
In the men’s 100m backstroke, Chris Walker-Hebborn is British champion for a fourth successive time, but his 58.73 secs was slightly disappointing. The stiffness of the times was reflected in an evening when no one made an automatic selection for Rio – but tonight it is a big one for Scottish swimming.
Dan Wallace, the Commonwealth Games Champion, goes into the 400m individual medley and he will have the University of Stirling’s Lewis Smith for company.
City of Glasgow’s Camilla Hattersley trains in the Tollcross pool and she will be going for glory in the 8000m freestyle.