O'Connor skips her school prom but books ticket to Olympics
SIOBHAN-Marie O'Connor became the youngest British swimmer to book her Olympic selection with a brilliant personal best at the British Gas ASA National Championships in Sheffield.
O'Connnor, just 16, failed to secure her place at the first trials in London earlier this year but clocked 1:08.04 to win 100m breaststroke gold at Ponds Forge.
She later revealed she'd given up the chance to attend her school prom to make a second bid to qualify - and now she will really go to the ball.
“I’m so shocked,” said O’Connor.
“I found it so hard to deal with missing out in March but I had to get back in and do the hard work.
“At one point I never saw myself going to London but I’ve given everything in training.
“I’ve focused so much since then and now I’m going to the Olympic Games. It is just unbelievable.”
Steph Proud also secured her Team GB place in the 200m backstroke. Proud will now join Lizzie Simmonds as the second British entry in the event after touching home inside the qualifying standard, clocking 2:09.40.
“I’m so relieved, I’ve been so nervous this week,” said Proud. “The race was tough and on those last few metres I was thinking oh no, where’s the wall.
“But I knew I was far enough ahead that no one was going to catch me so it was about getting to the wall in time.
“I was feeling good this week but it is easy to get caught up in that. I still had to make it happen.”
Having clocked his first Olympic qualification time in the 200m backstroke 24 hours before, Chris Walker-Hebborn secured his second in as many days with gold in the 100m backstroke.
He took the race out confidently before coming home to touch in a lifetime best 54.26 – 0.14 seconds under the Olympic standard.
“To come here and qualify for the Olympics in two events is just amazing,” said Walker-Hebborn.
“I feel like 10kg has been lifted off my back after qualifying last night and during that swim I just felt so relaxed this evening.
“I had a great swim this morning and followed it up tonight. “It is just a nice feeling to know that the pressure is off. I feel like I can be myself now and enjoy my swimming. The more relaxed I feel, the more it helps my racing.
“I’ll sit down with my coach and discuss where we go from here; to make sure my taper is right and I can be the best I can be in London."
Elsewhere, double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington - who booked her selection in March - again dominated a domestic field to win the 800m freestyle, in which she is world record holder, in 8:19.03.
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