Willmott wants World medal
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UEL swimmer ready for Russian test
Aimee Willmott insists narrowly missing out on victory in the Commonwealth Games and European Championships last year is providing her with an extra edge ahead of her second World Championships.
Willmott secured double silver at last summer’s Commonwealths as well as a silver and a bronze at the Europeans, and will be hoping she can medal once again in Kazan next week after posting the third fastest time in the world this year.
It will be the 22-year-old’s second World Championships after she just missed out on the final in Barcelona in 2013.
A lot has happened in those subsequent two years, and Willmott admits failing to climb the top step of the podium last year is making all the more hungry this time around.
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“Since I started coming into the seniors, my times have always been getting quicker and I have just been on the outside,” she said.
“Each year you hope to get closer to the number one and two in the world and those who are swimming the best all year.
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“In the last couple of years I have been swimming well at the beginning of the year and was left wondering why I wasn’t swimming as well at the end of the year.
“But now as I am getting older, I am growing up and learning more about my event and my competitors.
“It doesn’t matter what anyone is doing in January or anything like that, it is about what you are doing and making sure you do the best you can.
“Hopefully when you race, you have to believe you have done as much as you can and then on race day you give everything.”
The former Middlesbrough Amateur Swimming Club member, who is now based in London, will be competing on the final day of the World Championships and plans to round off what she hopes will be a successful tournament for Great Britain in style.
One of her main rivals for gold will be team-mate Hannah Miley, who pipped her to the 400m medley title at the Commonwealth Games and has the second fastest time of the year behind Hungarian Katinka Hosszu, who won the European Championships last year.
However, Willmott stressed prior form counts for nothing when the trio dive into the pool in two weeks’ time.
The University of East London star added: “The Commonwealth Games and the Europeans were a big step for me. I had won a few short course medals, but I had not won anything over long course.
“After just missing out on gold at the Commonwealth Games, swimming at the Europeans helped me correct the things I had done wrong at the Commonwealths. So to have two meets back-to-back was really good.
“I have swum at one World Championships before and finished ninth just outside the final so this year I hope to get in the final and once you are in there then it is anyone’s race.
“You can’t say well they are going to win because they are the world record holder or because they are swimming the best all year because anything can happen on the day.
“My main aim is to get in the final and once I do that then worry about everything else from there.”
*Aimee Willmott is one of 1,300 athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery supported World Class Programme. Find out more at uksport.gov.uk.