By Liz Byrnes in Glasgow
Alys Thomas added the 100m butterfly title to her 200m gold while Lewis Fraser broke the Welsh 50m butterfly record on a night when the promise of youth and the rewards that come from resilience were all on display as the British Swimming Championships concluded in Glasgow.
While 28-year-old Thomas clinched her golden double an eye-opening meet concluded for 16-year-old Matt Richards who was seventh in the 200m freestyle, twice lowering the British Age Group record on the final day.
Thomas had already secured a consideration time over the longer race for selection to the Great Britain team for the World Championships in South Korea this summer.
The City of Swansea Aquatics star was third at halfway but a second 50m of 30.66secs saw her move to the head of the field and clinch gold in 58.20secs, 0.10secs ahead of Charlotte Atkinson.
Thomas secured her first senior international medal last year when she won the 200m butterfly at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in a scorching time that would have won bronze at the last World Championships in Budapest in 2017.
She puts her emergence as a mature swimmer down to her dedication and resilience, saying: “I just kept going, I just haven’t given up I guess.
“Maybe I am a slow learner, I just kept going and I have slowly learned how to do things right for me and I guess it all just came together a bit later for me.”
Of the race, she said: “I’m pleased with that. I am a bit annoyed not to duck under (58secs) but a good, solid swim.”
Harriet West was fifth and Harriet Jones eighth.
Fraser, of City of Swansea Aquatics, took silver in the 50m butterfly in 23.98 to become the first Welshman to crack 24 seconds, taking 0.07secs off Thomas Laxton’s national record which had stood since 2013.
A trip to the podium rounded off a week he described as “a bit up and down” after he finished fourth in the 100m butterfly but confirmed he was going in the right direction.
He said: “I have been doing fly solidly for the last 18 months after transitioning from breaststroke.
“Clearly that is the way forward for me.”
He added: “I am very pleased with that. It’s the first time I am under 24 (seconds) so that is a big best time for me as well.
“I don’t really have medal expectations, they are just bonuses on top. I am just aiming to go as fast as I can every time I get in the pool.”
Congratulations to Lewis Fraser of Swansea University Swimming Club on winning Silver in the 50 Fly also breaking the Welsh Senior Record and becoming the first Welsh man ever to go sub 24.0 at British Champs #BSC19 👏🥈🏴
— Swim Wales (@SwimWales) April 21, 2019
Calum Jarvis was part of the Great Britain 4x200m freestyle relay squad that won gold at the last two World Championships and his fourth place in a red-hot 200m free final in 1:47.18 will see him on the plane to Gwangju this summer.
Notable in that race was Richards who lowered the British Age Group record in both heats and final, lowering Martyn Walton’s mark from 2014 in the morning to 1:49.63 before taking off a further chunk in the final in 1:49.36.
That followed his performance in the men’s transitional 100m free earlier in the week of 49.98 to set a new British Age Group mark, taking a mighty 0.69secs off the record set by Duncan Scott in 2014, fine footsteps indeed in which to follow.
Richards was up against the likes of former world champion James Guy and European gold medallist Scott but the big occasion was clearly one he embraced.
“There was some top-quality swimmers in there,” he said. “It is not easy racing against those guys obviously but I love a challenge and I love a good race and that is exactly what I got there so I couldn’t have asked for more.”
There was a twinge of disappointment that he did not get into sixth place but then looked ahead to his long-term ambitions in the sport.
“Everyone has their goals to go the whole way and reach the top level,” he said.
“Same with me – they are my goals as well so hopefully one day that will be achievable.”