The 21-year-old faced off against GB teammates and sprint royalty with Olympic champion Tom Dean, Tokyo silver medallist Duncan Scott and gold medal winning relay teammate James Guy in a domestic final like no other to round off the 2024 Speedo Aquatics GB Swimming Championships.

Richards went out hard but found himself chasing Guy as they turned into the final 50. After powering past his Millfield teammate, he had to hold off a resurgent Scott to secure the gold medal and secure his place in all three of the Paris sprint events.

“It’s a bit more painful than the 50 and the 100 Free I’ll be honest,” said Richards. “It’s always great fun, especially racing with these boys and in the summer we will get to race together as part of that relay team which is so exciting. It’s a privilege and an honour to race alongside these guys.

“The 200m was definitely the hardest out of the three, it stings the most but it’s the most fun because there are so many different ways of swimming it. I’m super happy with that swim.”

Richards went out hard in the opening 50, taking the turn in 24.27 before surrendering the lead to a determined Guy. By the time they turned for the final time and headed down the home straight, the gap was 0.18.

Richards stormed past Guy but had to hold off Scott in the closing stages to take his second British sprint title of the week. Wales teammate Kieran Bird was sixth in a time of 1:46.99.

LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 04: Matthew Richards of Millfield competes in the Men’s 100m Freestyle Paris – Final during day three of the British Swimming Championships 2024 on April 04, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Richard Pelham/Getty Images)

Dylan Broom had been suffering with illness heading into the Aquatics GB Swimming Championships, but despite that, he almost cracked the Paralympics nomination time in the Men’s 200m Freestyle. With leader Will Ellard matching the World Record, Broom chased hard to come in under the nomination time of 1:56.13. The Torfaen Dolphins athlete just missed out as he touched in 1:58.28 to dip under the time he posted at the Commonwealth Games and earn an impressive haul of 858 para points.

He said: “It’s been a great week, I haven’t had the best block of training going into this week, but I smashed that. That was lower than my Commonwealth time which I’m really happy about.”

Will Ryley had enjoyed a successful week with Paris final appearances in the 200m and 400m Individual Medley events. He lined up in the Men’s 200m B Final alongside fellow Welshman Zach Speakman to kick-off Sunday’s grand finale.

Ryley delivered another impressive performance to finish third in a time of 2:01.31, and Speakman was just over a second back as he finished sixth in 2:02.44.

Mabli Collyer continued to gain valuable top-level experience at the London Aquatics Centre. She was just pipped to the post in a tight final 50 by Jasmine Carter to finish in a time of 1:10.97.

Theodora Taylor continued her busy meet in the 100m Breaststroke B Final after narrowly missing out on the Paris final. The Torfaen Dolphin was gaining on Loughborough’s Gillian Kay Davey as they approached the wall, but it came too soon for Taylor, who had to settle for second in 1:09.61.

City of Cardiff’s Amy Crowley produced an impressive performance to reach the star-studded A final with a time of 1:09.48. From the outside lane, she finished eighth in a time of 1:09.79.

Crowley’s teammate Libby Broder was another swimmer who made strides during the week in London, and she finished her meet with a fifth place finish in the 100 Freestyle Junior final as she slashed more than seven tenths of a second off her time in the heats.

Rebecca Sutton also capped off a busy meet with a positive performance in the B final. From lane eight, the Swansea University swimmer just missed out on a place in the top three as she powered home in a time of 56.14             to go quicker than the heats.

Meghan Willis turned heads with her performances throughout the week, and she signed off with yet another appearance in a Para Paris final. The 16-year-old could not quite improve on the time that saw her qualify sixth, as she placed in seventh with 709 points to round-off her meet.