BEN PROUD insisted he was not worried about his times as he predictably picked up two sprint gold medals at the British Swimming Championships.
As a world, European and Commonwealth Games champion, Proud was one of the few British swimmers who did not have to be at their very best at the trials in Glasgow that finished on Sunday.
Proud was still miles ahead of his domestic rivals in the 50m freestyle and butterfly events and recorded the fastest time in the world in the freestyle. But he knows there is still a lot more to come later in the season. He wants to peak for the World Championships in South Korea this summer.
He swam 21.50 seconds to win gold in the 50m freestyle on Saturday at Tollcross and then clocked 23.25 seconds for the one-length butterfly. His best for those events is 21.11 and 22.75 seconds, respectively, which are around the times he hopes to be swimming in July.
“I think looking back at both races (at British Championships), both of them have been consistently off my best, but it reflects that we’ve just been taking a steady build throughout the season and I think that’s going to pay dividends for the summer,” said the Plymouth swimmer, who now trains in Turkey with British coach James Gibson.
“I’m definitely trying to learn how to focus my preparations to the one big meet each year. I think that’s how my career is going to have to be now and that’s all I want to be doing – winning medals on the world stage.
“Throughout the season, I’m aiming everything towards the summer and Tokyo next year.”
Meanwhile, Plymouth Leander’s Laura Stephens capped her fine week by winning a bronze medal in the women’s 100m butterfly final on Sunday.
Earlier in the championships, Stephens had demolished her PB to win silver in the 200m butterfly in a time of 2:07.96, which ranks her eighth in the world.
Stephens missed out on the consideration time for the World Championships by just 0.07 second, but she could yet get one of the eight wild card picks, considering her high world ranking.
Her 100m swim of 58.82 seconds could have helped her cause as it shows she could be a good back-up medley relay option for Alys Thomas.
Thomas won the 100m butterfly final in 58.20 seconds, with former Plymouth College pupil Charlotte Atkinson second in 58.30.
Leander’s Sophie Freeman, just 15, swam another PB to finish second in the transition (under-23) 100m butterfly final.
Mount Kelly’s Sam Dailley also enjoyed a good final day in Glasgow. He won the 50m butterfly transition final in a new PB of 24.87 seconds. He finished as first junior in that event. Dailley also won Friday’s 100m butterfly transition final in 54.68 seconds, having also enjoyed success in the first half of the championships.
Fellow Mount Kelly swimmer Alex Mason was third in the junior 50m butterfly final in 25.65 seconds, with Plymouth Leander’s Sam Perks fourth and Reid Jones seventh.
Jones had won the junior 50m freestyle final on Saturday evening in 23.66 seconds.
Leander’s Honey Osrin, who was one of the top performing juniors at the championships, won another final on Saturday when she touched first in the junior women’s 200m IM in 2:17.63. The day before she had finished fourth in the senior women’s 200m backstroke in a World Junior Championship qualifying time of 2:12.53.