Plenty of positives for Chris Walker-Hebborn to take
- Credit: Archant
Chris Walker-Hebborn insists there are positives to take from a disappointing World Championships in Barcelona that ended on Saturday with an exit in the heat of the medley relay.
In his first major outing in the 4x100m event, Walker-Hebborn led out the British team with a backstroke time of 54.33 seconds that placed them second in their heat at the end of his leg.
Breaststroke specialist Ross Murdoch, Commonwealth Games silver medallist Michael Rock and freestyle sprinter Adam Brown then completed the job in 3:35.23mins but it was one place and 0.32secs away from making the final.
The United States qualified fastest in 3:32.72mins, but for Walker-Hebborn Britain’s ninth-place finish typifies what has been a frustrating week in Barcelona.
The 23-year-old got his meet underway in his less-favoured 100m backstroke event on Monday (July 29) and despite dipping under the 54-second mark (53.96) it was only good enough for 12th.
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He then dusted himself down ahead of his preferred 200m discipline on Thursday (August 1) but crashed out in semi-finals in 13th-place overall.
However, despite his struggles in the Palau Sant Jordi pool, Walker-Hebborn admits his performances over two-lengths provide a crumb of comfort looking forward to Glasgow 2014.
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“It’s been a bit of a tough week, I’ve just been trying to take as many positives as possible going into next year, but I’ve had a lot to take from this year,” said the Bury St Edmunds swimmer, who set a personal best of 53.38secs in the 100m at the British Championships in June.
“Obviously I’ve made a big break in my 100m recently and I’m just trying to remain upbeat with regards to that.
“The medley was a big race, I’d like to think I’ve been consistent with another low 54, but unfortunately it’s not been enough to get us through but that’s sometimes what happens in swimming.
“It’s been my first time in a medley relay and I really enjoyed it even though we couldn’t quite make it through.”
Walker-Hebborn formed part of a new-look relay team with the likes of two-time world champion Liam Tancock not competing in Spain and teammate Rock claims he stepped up to the plate.
“It’s been fantastic to be in there with some of these new boys,” said 26-year-old Rock. “I think British Swimming has got a great future ahead.
“Loads of the younger guys are really performing at the highest level at the first time of asking, it’s really exciting.”
n Britain’s athletes are funded by UK Sport as the nation’s high performance sports agency responsible for the strategic investment of £355million of National Lottery and Exchequer funding in Olympic and Paralympic sports preparing for Rio 2016.
The ambition is to win more medals than in London 2012 while building a stronger more sustainable high performance system. www.uksport.gov.uk