Sheffield Hallam swimmer Max Litchfield insists all roads now lead to the British Championships after claiming three medals at the BUCS Nationals in Sheffield.
After a breakthrough year in the pool in 2014, Litchfield put himself through a busy schedule in the Steel City this weekend as he looks for to add to his international appearances after swimming at the Commonwealth Games.
And he was rewarded with several trips to the podium at Ponds Forge - the first coming after he took gold in the men’s 400m individual medley on Saturday morning, before he returned on Sunday to win gold in the 400m freestyle and silver in the 200m individual medley.
The 19-year-old’s season is only in its infancy with Litchfield admitting to feeling the strain slightly towards the end of his races.
But with the British Championships in April looming large on the horizon, he insists everything is on track for him to peak at exactly the right time.
“My swimming wasn’t too bad out there – my times weren’t that great but it’s not too bad for this time of year,” he said.
“It’s pretty hard work at the moment but you can’t do anything about that, so it’s all about trying to keep those skills good.
“I think I did that pretty well out there, so I’m reasonably happy.
“I did BUCS last year but this was the first time I’ve won a gold medal, which is great. It’s really good to bring the points home for the team.
“In the next few weeks we’ve got the Edinburgh Grand Prix meet and then we go straight into camp ready for trials in April.
“Everything is building towards the trials now, that is the next big aim. Hopefully I can put in some good times ahead of those.”
The British Championships hold particular significance this year with the event doubling up as the trials for this summer’s World Championships in Russia.
And buoyed by his medal rush in his home pool, Litchfield has his eyes firmly on being in the frame for selection.
“The big competition this year is the World Championships, so that’s what my primary target is,” he added.
“I’ll be looking to swim fast at trials so I can meet the qualification time and get on that team.
“It’s nice to get a gold medal near the start of the season – it’s a good way to begin, so I can’t complain.
“It’s always nice to swim in a fast pool and I’m based here as well, so that’s great
British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the governing body for Higher Education sport in the UK, representing 170 institutions and facilitating 52 sport programmes. BUCS has been shortlisted for Governing Body of the Year at the BT Sports Industry Awards 2015 and is supported by Deloitte www.bucs.org.uk