BEN PROUD insisted he was not too disappointed not to be able to defend his 50m butterfly crown at the World Championships in Gwangju on Monday.
Proud finished seventh in a stacked field in 23.01 seconds, but he says his focus is on the 50m freestyle event, which will take place on Friday and Saturday.
“Historically, I have swam a lot faster and was the reigning world champion, but I’m not too disappointed,” said Proud.
“My fly this year has always been a little bit off what it has been in the past but that because I have been working more on my freestyle with the Olympics coming up next year.
“I am pretty focussed on the freestyle and I’m looking forward to that on Friday.”
The 50m butterfly event is not an Olympic race, which is why Proud has been putting most of his focus on the freestyle. Proud has won World, European and Commonwealth Games medals but he is missing an Olympic one from his collection and he wants to put right in Tokyo.
American Caeleb Dressel was unstoppable in the Monday’s butterfly final finishing in 22.35 seconds, with Oleg Kostin second in 22.70 and Brazilian veteran Nicholas Santos third in 22.79.
Proud did help Great Britain’s 4x100m freestyle team claim an Olympic place and a fifth place finish in South Korea.
Meanwhile, at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Baku, Plymouth Leander’s Sophie Freeman has qualified fastest for Tuesday’s 200m butterfly final.
Freeman eased through the heats on Monday morning with a 2:15.54 swim before clocking 2:13.26 in the afternoon’s semi-finals.
Dartmoor Darts’ Cameron Williams opened his campaign in Baku in the 200m breaststroke. The event is not Williams’ speciality and he was unable to progress to the semi-finals. However, he will be hoping to impress in his favourite 100m breaststroke event later in the meet.