Suffolk swimmer Chris Walker-Hebborn targets golden summer after winning British 100m backstroke title

Chris Walker-Hebborn on his way to winning the men's 100m backstroke final

Chris Walker-Hebborn on his way to winning the men's 100m backstroke final - Credit: PA

Suffolk swimming star Chris Walker-Hebborn immediately turned his attentions to conquering the world after topping the 100m backstroke podium at the British Swimming Championships.

Tuesday saw the action get underway at the iconic London Aquatics Centre, the scene of the 2012 Olympic Games.

And returning to such happy surroundings clearly spurred double Commonwealth champion Walker-Hebborn on as he soared into the men’s 100m backstroke final by touching home in a time of 53.21 seconds in his morning’s heat to qualify fastest.

The final was always going to be tough though with Liam Tancock to contend with, but Walker-Hebborn held off his long-term rival, taking the win in 52.88.

While Tancock had to settle for silver there was plenty more for Walker-Hebborn to celebrate with his time seeing him dip under that required for this summer’s World Championships in Kazan.

And after all-but securing himself a plane ticket to Russia, the 24-year-old Bury St Edmunds swimmer, a former member of Team Ipswich, couldn’t help but let his mind wander to what looks like being a summer to remember.

“Training has been going really well,” he said. “I spoke to my coach and because there were no semi finals we just wanted to post a quick time in the heat.

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“But I surprised myself by going as quick as I did. I knew there was more there and the coach goes off high risk for high reward so I went out for it in the final. I paid the price around the 75m mark but carried on.

“I saw Liam coming back at me so tried to hold on and I am pleased to dip under the time for the World Championships.

“It is very important to get that time for the World Championships. I have competed at a few Worlds but never reached a podium so I have to keep going.

“Being British number one is nice but at the worlds it is a completely different ball game – so I am just focussing on the final and take it from there.”

And Walker-Hebborn thanks domestic rival Tancock for spurring him on to bigger and better things.

“I have been racing Liam since I was a little kid,” he added. “He is an absolute role model for me.

“He is an absolute professional and it is great to talk to him in the call room and great to race again him.

“It is never a bad race, I am always nevous when I race him because I never know what he can do an he always makes me better.”

- To keep up to date with all the action of the swimmers in the lead up to Rio follow British Swimming on Twitter Facebook and Instagram.

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