Willmott delighted with BUCS wins
PUBLISHED: 12:00 24 February 2016
UEL swimmer clinches golden hat-trick
Aimee Willmott is confident 2016 can be her year after making a strong start to her long course season at the BUCS Nationals in Sheffield.
Willmott made the switch to the University of East London last year and has now settled into her new surroundings, cruising to 400m individual medley, 200m backstroke and 800m freestyle gold at Ponds Forge over the weekend.
The 22-year-old set a Championship record of 8.36.00 in the longest of those events and was one of 6,000 students to descend on the Steel City for this year’s edition of the UK’s largest annual multi-sport event.
And she insists it was the perfect way to get her long course season started as she looks towards April and the Olympic trials in Glasgow.
“At the start of an Olympic year it’s good to start well and to get wins like this. The BUCS is really good fun and I’m happy to have the chance to represent my University,” she said.
“I’ve been training really well and racing really well and just enjoying myself a lot more than last year and if I can keep doing what I’m doing then hopefully I can be on the way to Rio.
“Last year was my first in London and away from home and I was probably a bit more uncertain of the difficulties I was having, but this year everything is in place and I am really settled and seem to be getting on a lot better.
“It’s a big year and it’s been really hard already. I’ve raced a lot since January and put in some consistent times in the 400.”
There was more success for UEL as sprinter Corinne Humphreys picked up silver in the women’s 60m while former Heathcotes School pupil Jamaal Otto successfully defended his men’s and team title in the karate.
And in the judo events, UEL’s international law and human rights student Emmanuel Nartey demonstrated the experience he picked up representing Ghana at London 2012 by winning the men’s under-81kg title on his BUCS debut.
“For me it’s a great achievement for myself and also the university to win gold at BUCS,” said Nartey.
“It’s very important for me to come here and put a good result in.
“Of course I felt the pressure. It was more difficult for me than going to the Worlds for a fight because people expect you to win. On the world stage I know the players and how they fight, but here there are a lot of surprises as you don’t know what the athletes are doing. So it makes it very difficult.
“At the moment I’m in an Olympic qualification place which is good so at the minute I just need to keep my focus and fight hard and hopefully I will be at Rio.”
*British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the national governing body for Higher Education (HE) sport in the UK, organising leagues and competitions for more than 150 institutions across 52 different sports.
Partnered by Deloitte, BUCS supports athletes from a grass roots level through to Commonwealth and Olympic Games hopefuls. See bucs.org.uk for more.