British and Welsh records fell in Sheffield as Welsh swimmers starred at the Swim England National Winter Championships.
Matt Richards, Tyler Melbourne-Smith and Medi Harris were all amongst the medals at Ponds Forge International Pool.
Richards continued his red-hot return to the form that saw him claim Olympic Relay gold last year, as he broke two British records in a day en route to a hat-trick of gold medals. The heats session of day two saw the first record tumble, as Richards produced a stunning 45.94 in the Men’s 100m Freestyle to knock 0.03 off the previous best, which was held by Ben Proud.
The Millfield athlete later broke his own record, which was the second British record to fall in the finals after Imogen Clark’s performance in the Women’s Open 50m Breaststroke.
Richards looked a class above his rivals as he raced away to clinch the national title and open gold medal in a brilliant 45.85.
He wasn’t done there though as he went on to dominate the rest of the sprint events. He set new Welsh records to clinch top spot in the 200m Freestyle (1:41.50) and the 50m Freestyle (21.11), where compatriot Dan Jones finished third. Despite his stunning performances, Richards wasn’t fully satisfied.
“It was a good day at the office,” said Richards. “They are the first British open records I’ve taken so I’m really happy with that. This morning’s swim was pretty good, although there were a few technical elements that weren’t quite right. It was frustrating from that point of view but exciting as the times were still fast. We can take a lot from it and hopefully tighten a few things up and go even faster next week.”
Swim Wales Junior Performance Athlete of the Year Tyler Melbourne-Smith completed a clean sweep of distance titles and added Junior 200m Freestyle silver to his haul of six gold medals.
The 17-year-old became both the Junior and Open champion in the Men’s 400m Freestyle, 800m Freestyle and 1500m Freestyle across an unforgettable weekend for the City of Liverpool athlete.
To round-off his weekend in style in the 400, he asserted himself into a two-second lead as they reached the halfway stage and never looked back as he stormed to victory.
Melbourne-Smith ended up finishing in 3:45.74, 3.27 ahead of SFA Canada’s Collyn Cagne finished second to claim a commemorative silver medal.
Harris warmed up for the FINA World Short Course Championships with a dominant victory in the Women’s Open 100m Backstroke final.
The Swansea University swimmer is part of the British Swimming team heading to Melbourne, Australia, for the competition and the 20-year-old showed she is in fine form as she took the gold in 57.31 to complete the Backstroke double after taking the 50 Back title in 26.49.
Two more Welsh junior Breaststroke records were broken in Yorkshire, with Mabli Collyer setting a new 50m record in a time of 31.81, and Theodora Taylor continuing her fine form with a bronze medal and Welsh SC record in 2:30.65.
Antonio Rodriguez swam to a junior 200m Fly silver (1:57.29) and City of Cardiff’s William Ryley earned a bronze medal in the 400IM Open.