Chris Walker-Hebborn adds British 50m backstroke time trial title to 100m crown
- Credit: Archant
A poor night’s sleep and some of the best swimmers in the country could not stop Suffolk’s Chris Walker-Hebborn from storming to victory in the 50m backstroke time trial at the British Swimming Championships in London.
The 24-year-old was the only competitor to go under 25 seconds at the London Aquatics Centre on Wednesday, clocking a time of 24.92 to match his personal best and finish ahead of second-placed Liam Tancock, who touched home in 25.23, Joseph Patching placing third in 25.66.
The result came less than 24 hours after Walker-Hebborn pipped Team GB compatriot Tancock in a breathless 100m backstroke final on the first day of competition.
And Bury’s Walker-Hebborn admitted the previous night’s showpiece had almost curtailed his chances in the time trial 24 hours later.
“I didn’t manage to get to sleep until about 2am last night, so I was knackered beforehand and I just tried to swim it off,” Walker-Hebborn said.
“It was a really tough 50m – last night had taken a bit more out of me than I thought it would, but I still managed to get on my PB, so that’s good.
“It was quite a tight turnaround between events, I think there is more there for me and I have to be quite happy with the time as well.
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“It’s always good to race with Liam (Tancock) – there is always a good bit of banter there but for now I’m holding my own.”
Walker-Hebborn’s impressive displays on Tuesday had seen him meet the qualifying time required to qualify for the World Championships in Russia later this summer, as well as picking up the 100m British title for a third consecutive year.
But despite the fantastic results, the 24-year-old admits he still feels the pressure of performing at big events – and he knows he cannot afford to lose his focus now.
“It is so nerve wracking competing here – it’s too much pressure, but I’ve just got to take it all in and swim fast really,” he added.
“It’s a lot more than making Team GB, it is a career – if I don’t make those times then I don’t swim in the summer and I can’t make the funding.
“I suppose it’s make or break in that sense, but obviously I’m in a good place and things are going well.
“There is a lot riding on this British Championships meet, but I have done my bit so I can go home and get some rest before getting back on it in training.”
Meanwhile, Ipswich’s Lewis Coleman could only finish fifth in the 200m in a time of 2:00.80 minutes, leaving him to pin his hopes on the 200m freestyle if he is to follow Walker-Hebborn to the World Championships in Kazan.
“That was a little bit off my personal best,” Coleman said. “My main aim was to qualify for worlds and I have not done that obviously.
“But last year in Glasgow I went 2.04 rested so if you put that in perspective I have taken four seconds off that time which is good.
“But in comparison of where I need to be it just wasn’t good enough – I have the 200m freestyle later on this week so that is my focus now to put myself on the plane to Kazan.”
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