PLYMOUTH Leander’s Laura Stephens showed she is in the form of her life by smashing her personal best to take second place in the 100m butterfly event at the British Swimming Selection Trials in London.
Stephens, better known for her prowess over 200m, incredibly lowered her two-length best by nearly a second over her two swims on the first day of the Olympic trials.
She clocked 58.56 seconds to win her heat in the morning before coming so close to taking victory in the evening final with a 57.98 second swim.
The 21-year-old was just edged out by Cardiff’s Harriet Jones, who touched in a new best of 57.79.
Jones’ time was under the British Olympic consideration time, but Stephens was agonisingly 0.06 of a second off the magic mark.
However, her swim in the 100m event, which ranks her eighth in the world this year, will be a massive boost to her ahead of her favourite 200m butterfly discipline, which takes place on Friday.
She has also proved by going under 58 seconds that she is a serious option for the Great Britain 4x100m medley relay team for either the Olympics or European Championships.
Stephens’ Plymouth Leander team-mate Sophie Freeman just missed out on reaching Wednesday’s 100m butterfly final. She ranked ninth after the heats, with a 1:01.01 swim. Mount Kelly was 17th with 1:02.84.
Leander’s Adam Chillingworth broke his 100m breaststroke personal best, but just missed out on reaching a world-class final that was won by Adam Peaty.
Chillingworth clocked 1:02.04, which will give him confidence ahead of his favourite 200m event on Friday.
Also on the first day of the trials in London, Mount Kelly’s Erin Little and Leander’s Honey Osrin clocked 2:05.42 and 2:06.17 respectively in the women’s 200m freestyle, Mount Kelly’s Theodore Thompson swam 4:13.18 in the men’s 400m, team-mate Imogen Lambert clocked 5:13.77 in the women’s 400m IM and Leander’s Charles Kershaw touched in 2:08.22 in the men’s 200m IM.