PLYMOUTH Leander’s Ben Proud begins his bid to secure a place on the Great Britain team at this summer’s Olympic Games on Thursday.
Proud swims in the 100m freestyle event at the British Championships in Glasgow, which are acting as Olympic trials.
The double Commonwealth Games gold medallist is favourite to win both the men’s 50 and 100m freestyle events, but it is the time which count as much as the victory at Tollcross.
To automatically qualify for the 100m freestyle event in Rio, Proud will have to break the British record in Scotland.
However, having claimed four British short course records in December and set a new 50m long course national best in February, you would not bet against Proud doing that on Thursday in the pool where he enjoyed so much success at the Commonwealth Games in 2014.
And even if the 100m event does not go according to plan, Proud has his favourite 50m freestyle competition on Saturday. He is currently ranked fourth in the world at the ‘splash and dash’ and reached last year’s World Championship final in that event
The University of St Mark and St John student is desperate to compete at his first Olympics in Rio.
“For me, this has been five or six years in the making,” said Proud in the British Championship programme.
“I know if I want to achieve what I want to do this summer then I have to be swimming fast now.
“The 100 free is my main focus in Glasgow. I swim that first so, hopefully, I can get the qualifying time for that and then the pressure is off.”
The reason Proud is focusing on the 100m freestyle is because Britain has a realistic chance of winning a medal in the men’s 4x100m medley relay in Rio.
Meanwhile, Proud’s Leander team-mates Sam Dailley and Tegan Drew picked up medals on the second day of the British Championships.
Dailley won silver in the junior men’s 200m butterfly event in a time of 2:04.23. His team-mate Freddy Clampett was fourth in 2:04.88.
Drew took bronze in the junior women’s 100m backstroke in a time of 1:03.52.
Also in the backstroke events, Leander’s Perry Gardiner finished fifth in the Target Tokyo 100m final on Wednesday evening. He touched in a time of 56.33.
American-based Joe Patching was fourth in the men’s 100m backstroke open with 54.98 seconds. Fellow former Plymouth College swimmer Joe Hulme was sixth in the same race with 55.47.