Lelliott, Benson and Wilby hit the podium at World University Games

Britain’s swimmers claimed five medals in the World University Games swimming competition which closed over the weekend in Gwanju, South Korea.

Leading the way was Bath’s Jay Lelliott who mounted the highest step of the medal rostrum with gold in the 400m freestyle. His time of 3:48.84 put him just 0.04 ahead of second placed Jack Mcloughlin of Australia, an advantage all gained over the closing 50m, with the Briton having been overhauled at the final turn.

Jay Lelliott: double medalist in Gwangju

Earlier in the meet he had claimed another battling medal, this time taking silver in the 800m freestyle. Lelliott was the fastest qualifier from the heats, and led the final until the 650m mark before being overhauled at the death by Ukraine’s Sergii Frolov and losing out 7:50.28 to 7:50.97. That swim represented an 8-second PB from his time recorded at trials.

Lelliott returned in the 1500m and posted 15:07.84 for a fourth placed finish.

Stirling University’s Craig Benson was another double medal winner, coming home with two bronze medals from the 100m and 200m breaststroke events. He posted a lifetime best of 2:09.10 in the longer race consolidating him at 10th in this year’s world rankings. And yet in a demonstration of British depth in that event, he’s still only ranked 4th in the country. Another Scot, Calum Tait was 5th in the same final in 2:10.57.

In the 100m, Benson had qualified fastest for the final in 1:00.16, his quickest time since the London Olympics, but he was unable to breach the minute barrier, coming home in 1:00.33 and being pipped for silver by teammate James Wilby of Loughborough. Wilby’s 1:00.28 was a lifetime best for him, bettering his swim at trials. Benson rounded out his campaign with a PB of 28.02 in the 50m breaststroke semi-finals.

Elsewhere, Joe Patching of Auburn was 5th in the 200 backstroke in 1:59.52 and Max Litchfield posted 5th and 6th placed finishes in the 400IM and 200IM respectively. Those two combined with Benson and Cameron Brodie for 5th in the 4×100 medley relay final.

On the women’s side, Olivia White was the sole finalist, taking 8th in the 200m breaststroke with 2:29.95, while the final team member Kathryn Johnstone made semi finals in the 50m and 100m breaststroke.

Banner image courtesy British Gas/SWPix.com