PLYMOUTH'S JAMES FLYS TO WORLD FINALS

plymouth leander's antony james, courtesy and copyright pinnacle photo agency ukDevon’s Commonwealth Games silver medallist Antony James clocked a season’s best time in the British Gas ASA National Championships men’s 100m Butterfly final to dip under the time needed to qualify for next month's 14th FINA World Championships in Shanghai.

 

The Plymouth Leander swimmer led from gun to wall, ultimately touching in a season’s best 52.13 at Pond’s Forge, Sheffield.

 

The city-born University of Plymouth student said: “I've really knuckled down in training over the past three months and that showed in that performance.

 

“I didn't expect to go quite as fast as I did as I know there are a few areas I can improve on. It shows it’s going in the right direction.

 

“To make the team is very special to me as I want to use it to gain valuable experience.”

 

James is coached by Plymouth Leander head coach Jon Rudd at Plymouth College.

 

British Gas ITC Bath’s Chris Walker-Hebborn announced his return to form with a season’s best time in the final of the men’s 200m Backstroke.

 

Walker-Hebborn dominated the race and held more than a second lead over nearest rival Marco Loughran with 50m to go before touching in 1:57.20 to win the gold.

 

University of Bath’s Stacey Tadd secured the qualifying time for the women’s 200m Breaststroke in a race that saw the athletes swimming stroke for stroke for the final 50m.

 

And while 15-year old Molly Renshaw lead at the half-way stage, it was Tadd who came out on top, touching the wall in a new English record 2:27.37.

 

“I'm just relieved to have won and posted that time,” Tadd said. “It’s needed a lot of hard work but I'm there and can enjoy it.

 

“I felt quite tense towards the end because I could see Molly there but I just kept it going to the end.

 

“It’s an amazing feeling to make the team as a vital step on the road to London 2012.”

 

Tadd claimed the 100m Breaststroke title last night, winning in a new English record time of 1.09.14, narrowly missing the qualifying time for Shanghai. 

Amy Smith also became a double champion in Sheffield, adding the 50m Freestyle title to her 100m gold from Wednesday.

The Loughborough University swimmer touched in 25.46 with Heyn and Plymouth Leander's Emma Wilkins tied for silver in 25.83.

Freestyler Wilkins is also heading to the world championships - her second appearance at the event following Rome 2009 - and will be part of the GB 4x100m relay squad.

Earlier this week Siobhan Marie O’Connor (British Gas ITC Bath) won the women’s 200m Individual Medley gold.

The 15-year old led throughout the race to finish in a time of 2:14.14 to win her title after qualifying third fastest.

Fly guy: Plymouth's Antony James (pictured)

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