Willmott strikes gold; Pavoni silver
- Credit: PA WIRE
UEL swimmer raises Rio hopes
UEL’s Aimee Willmott put her individual medley disappointment behind her in the best possible fashion as she claimed victory in the 200m butterfly at the British Swimming Championships last night.
The 23-year-old was left devastated on the opening night of competition in Glasgow as she finished second in the 400m individual medley behind rival Hannah Miley, leaving her Olympic hopes hanging by a thread.
But while her fate still sits in the hands of the selectors, Willmott did everything she could to state her case, springing something of a surprise by winning the 200m butterfly in a time of 2.08.82, edging out Alys Thomas by just 0.05secs.
Willmott still has the 200m individual medley to come, but after the frustration of Tuesday, she was delighted to have bounced back in style.
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“I put a lot of pressure on myself coming into the meet and I had a lot of things playing on my mind,” said Willmott.
“I thought to myself that if I wanted to swim well for the rest of the meet I had to park Wednesday’s result and move on, so I’m really chuffed that I was able to do that and move on. I really gave it everything I had.
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“Earlier in the week everything was getting to me, and I knew that if I was still worried about that it would drag me down.
“My parents told me there was nothing I could do about that swim so I couldn’t dwell on it. I’d like to think I’ve still got a chance of going to Rio.”
While there was joy for Willmott, Roberto Pavoni was left looking ahead to the rest of the week after finishing second in the 400m individual medley.
He was beaten by Max Litchfield, and will therefore not go to Rio in the event, leaving him with the 200m individual medley to make up for it.
Pavoni was understandably disappointed not to get selection in the bag before focusing on the rest of the week.
He said: “It meant a lot to me, I really wanted to make the team in this so I could relax for the rest of the week, but it wasn’t to be and Max is a deserving winner.
“I prefer the 200m because it is shorter, and it is a little less painful, and as each year goes by I seem to be getting better. The 400m is getting harder for me but I guess that comes with age.”
*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 at euroaquatics2016.london.