Aquatics / Olympics

World Champs are a stepping stone for Olympics, says Proud

PLYMOUTH Leander star Ben Proud is viewing the World Championships as a stepping stone for next year’s Olympic Games.

Double Commonwealth Games champion Proud begins his World Championship campaign on Sunday morning when he competes in the heats of the 50m butterfly in Kazan.

These are Proud’s second World Championships, however, he has yet to compete at an Olympic Games and that is his main ambition.

“This is like a stepping stone to the Olympics because no matter what happens at the worlds, we have another year to go until the Olympics,” said the 20-year-old British record holder. “I just want to get more experience and see how it goes from there.

“I am still young and still trying to break through on to the scene so I am not thinking about medals.

“I don’t think I ever will before a major competition because I just try to be fast and if that is good enough for a medal then great.”

Proud, though, is excited to be competing on the world stage again.

He finished 11th in the 50m freestyle and 18th in the 50m butterfly at the 2013 championships in Barcelona as an 18-year-old.

The University of St Mark and St John student will compete in those events again in Kazan and also the 100m freestyle. He is also likely to swim the medley relay, having helped Great Britain to European glory last year.

“I am definitely excited,” said Proud, who will swim in heat seven of nine in Sunday’s butterfly event. “This is my third year on the senior British team and each year I have progressed to a higher standard.

“I feel like I have developed as an athlete and I feel I can contend against the rest. I am looking forward to seeing how it goes.”

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