Suffolk’s Chris Walker-Hebborn’s Olympic place is hanging by a thread

Chris Walker-Hebborn

Chris Walker-Hebborn - Credit: AP

Suffolk’s Chris Walker-Hebborn insists he can challenge in Rio provided the selectors give him a reprieve following a mixed performance at the 2016 British Swimming Championships.

The 25-year-old claimed the British title in the 100m backstroke at Glasgow’s Tollcross International Swimming Centre last week, but could only manage a time of 53.73, nearly a second outside his personal best, and crucially well outside the 52.99 qualifying standard.

That leaves his hopes of swimming in Rio hanging by a thread, with the team set to be announced on Thursday, but Walker-Hebborn, who went to school in Bury St Edmunds and was a member of Team Ipswich, could get onto the plane as part of the medley relay squad.

And after what he admits was a difficult build-up because of a tooth problem, Walker-Hebborn was bullish that he can still make an impact in Brazil.

He said: “It wasn’t a great swim but I’m happy to come away with a gold medal, so it’s up to the selectors now.

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“I need to reassess. I’ve had a few hiccups and I’m not one for making excuses, but if I’m firing on all cylinders I know it’s there for me.

“That was the first time in a long time that I’ve underperformed but hopefully they can oversee that and look at my consistency over the last couple of years.

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“I had a bit of a dodgy run in and I’ve just got to take it as it comes.

“I think there is a strong possibility I can still be selected especially for the medley relay.”

Walker-Hebborn explained that a tooth problem had been bothering him in the build-up to the Championships but is adamant there is more to come from him.

He added: “I’ve been on antibiotics for a dodgy wisdom tooth that needs to be taken out, but I decided against it in the lead up to this so that maybe put me at 90 percent instead of 100 percent but I won the race and I’m happy with that.

“Selection is out of my hands now, they are tough times but there is a reason they select them and make it that hard.”

Tickets for the European Aquatics Championships – the biggest event to be held at the London Aquatics Centre since the 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games – from May 9-22 are now available here:

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