Wiffen & Litchfield Back Up Doha Successes As Evans & Orsin Deliver Career-High Progress

2024-02-24 Reading Time: 5 minutes
Max Litchfield - photo by Georgie Kerr, courtesy of British Swimming

Dan Wiffen and Max Litchfield backed up on their successes at the World Championships last week with more solid efforts at the British University Championships (BUCs) in Sheffield, Wiffen on 7:43.03 in the 800m freestyle and Litchfield on 4:13.58 in the 400m medley.

A week after double gold at World titles in Doha and a day after a 14:42 on the opening night at Ponds Forge, Wiffen, the Loughborough-based Irish ace double up again with a class-apart win over 800m that was just 2sec shy of his victory time at the global showcase. Guest swimmer Litchfield backed up a fine silver at World Championships last week in the 400m medley.

Other highlights included bright prospects in the British women’s ranks topped by a 1:06.65 from Stirling’s Angharad Evans in the 100m breaststroke that put the national record on notice. There was also a 2:08.48 win for Loughborough’s Honey Osrin in the 200m backstroke. Both those efforts were new career bests and fine signs on the way to Britain’s Olympic trials in April.

Wiffen Wipe Out

Daniel Wiffen – courtesy of FINIS

About 0.25sec per lap down on the European-record pace he set for fourth place at the 2023 World Championships in Fukuoka, Wiffen’s effort at Ponds Forge marks the third-fastest of his career, after the 7:40.94 he clocked for gold at the Doha 2024 World titles ended last Sunday.

Wiffen established a 5-second clear-blue-water lead over the best of the rest of the field with a 1:53.98 split at 200m. By 400m, on 3:51.40, he was 8sec clear of 19-year-old Loughborough teammate Tyler Melbourne-Smith, who would go ion to take silver in 8:04.06, with Luke Turley third 10secs further adrift.

All three will race in the 400m with another Loughborough ace, Austrian international Felix Auböck, on the last day of action tomorrow.

Litchfield’s Long Haul

Max Litchfield – courtesy of British Swimming

Litchfield’s 4:13.58 was a league ahead of those chasing, Charlie Hutchison, Loughborough, second on 4:20.40 and Stirling’s George Smith third on 4:24.13.

In Doha a week ago, Litchfield, 29, claimed the first long-course World Championship medal of his career with silver in the 400m medley, eight years after he took the same honour at World short-course titles in Windsor, Canada.

The 28-year-old led the world-title chase on backstroke and breaststroke before New Zealand’s Lewis Clareburt inched past him for the crown. They race went without 2023 World champion and world record holder Léon Marchand, of France, and has to be viewed in the context Litchfield highlighted to his credit.

Doha’s World Championship was held in northern winter in Olympic year for the first time in history, absenteeism and abstention from peak-form racing widespread, Carson Foster, of the USA, among those racing tough below par and shy of a tip-top-target taper.

The silver medallist at the 2022 and 2023 World championships, the first two in a series of four Covid-crunch annual global showcase catch-ups being held until 2025, after which the event will return to being staged every two years, Foster claimed bronze in the 200m Medley in Doha but in the 400m was just shy of the medals in 4:12.62, 0.11sec adrift three-times champion of past years, Daiya Seto, of Japan.

Even so, the top Brit long-course 400m medley man for the best part of a decade, noted what a return to excellent form meant to him:

16th April 2021, London Aquatics Centre, London, England ; 2021 British Swimming Selection Trials max litchfield

“The medal has been so close so many times, and it is just nice to break that. We’re in February, there’s a few people not here, but nonetheless, it’s a great swim, I’m really happy with how I processed the race. I’m just dead chuffed and looking forward to the rest of the year now. To be on the podium after all these years is amazing. I am really happy with the time and the way I executed the race, and just excited for the rest of the year.”

Max Litchfield. Photo courtesy of British Swimming

In a break from top-flight racing, Litchfield, who finished a frustrating fourth at both the 2016 and 2020ne Olympic Games, spent time training in South Africa and Italy. During that time away, his British record of 4:09.62, set at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest, where he also finished fourth, just 0.48sec from Seto’s bronze.

After silver in Doha in the third fastest of his career on a list that boasts eight efforts of 4:11 flat or better, Litchfield expressed his gratitude to those who have helped him get to a place where he’s a serious contender for a berth on Team GB for Paris 2024 and what would be his third Olympics. He said: ” I could thank a thousand people, but I’m especially thankful to UK Sport [funding] for keeping me going.”

The Progress Of Evans & Osrin

Angharad Evans, courtesy of SportsAid Eastern

Among highlights of day two was the advance of Angharad Evans to a new career high of 1:06.65 at the helm of the women’s 100m breaststroke final.

At that speed, she rose to 11th from 38th on the best Britain performance rankings and from 9th to 5th on the nation’s all-time performers ranks. More significant for Evans and Britain, she is now the swiftest active 100m breaststroke swimmer in the country: good news for medley relays ahead. The British record stands at 1:06.21 to retired Olympian Molly Renshaw.

After improving on her 1:07.27 career best from British nationals last year in heats this morning, with a 1:07.10 ticket to lane 4 for the showdown, Evans, of Stirling University, got the better of Loughborough pair, seasoned Swedish international Sophie Hansson, on 1:06.94m, and a former Russia team swimmer Tatiana Belonogoff, on 1:07.11.

Among encouraging efforts on the way to Olympic trials in April, Honey Osrin‘s 2:08.48 victory in the 200m backstroke was a personal best inside her 2:09.08 of 2023, that progress taking from 9th all-time Brit to 6th. The podium was completed by Stirling team-mates Holly McGill, on 2:11.82, and Katie Shanahan, 2:11.90.

Shanahan rose to third on the British all-time rankings with a 2:07.45 for fourth place at the 2023 World Championships just 0.71sec shy of the podium a year after she claimed silver in the event at the European Championships in Rome.

The BUCS podiums – Day 2:

The meet operates a female category and an Open/Male category in recognition ofd the exe-based nature of fair play and equality rules in sport.

400m medley

Male/Open

  1. Max Litchfield 29 Guest 4:13.58
  2. Charlie Hutchison 22 Loughborough 4:20.40
  3. George Smith 20 Stirling 4:24.13

Female

  1. Freya Colbert 20 Loughborough 4:40.15
  2. Katie Shanahan 20 Stirling 4:44.50
  3. Beatrice Varley 21 Plymouth 4:49.04

100m freestyle

Male/Open

  1. Alex Cohoon 22 Loughborough 49.62
  2. David Cumberlidge 28 Edinburgh 49.88
  3. Felix Auboeck 28 Loughborough 50.03

Female

  1. Kornelia Fiedkiewicz 23 Loughborough 54.58
  2. Evie Davis 20 Stirling 55.84
  3. Jemima Hall 23 Bath 56.20

50m butterfly

Male/Open

  1. Josh Gammon 21 Bath 23.75
  2. Lewis Fraser 24 Swansea 23.90
  3. Calvin Fry 20 Loughborough 24.36

Female

  1. Keanna Macinnes 23 Stirling 26.69
  2. Lucy Grieve 20 Stirling 27.16
  3. Harriet Rogers 20 Loughborough 27.23

100m breaststroke

Male/Open

  1. Greg Butler 24 Loughborough 1:00.63
  2. Archie Goodburn 23 Edinburgh 1:01.72
  3. Rory Dickson 22 Stirling 1:01.83

Female

  1. Angharad Evans 21 Stirling 1:06.65
  2. Sophie Hansson 26 Loughborough 1:06.94
  3. Tatiana Belonogoff 23 Loughborough 1:07.11

200m backstroke

Male/Open

  1. Oliver Morgan 21 Birmingham 1:57.81
  2. Conor Ferguson 25 Loughborough 2:00.21
  3. Hendrik Van Der Leest 20 Bath 2:02.61

Female

  1. Honey Osrin 21 Loughborough 2:08.48
  2. Holly McGill 19 Stirling 2:11.82
  3. Katie Shanahan 20 Stirling 2:11.90

800m freestyle

Male/Open

  1. Daniel Wiffen 23 Loughborough 7:43.03
  2. Tyler Melbourne-Smith 19 Loughborough 8:04.06
  3. Luke Turley 24 Guest 8:14.75

Female

  1. Fleur Lewis 21 Loughborough 8:40.93
  2. Leah Crisp 23 Bath 8:44.98
  3. Michaella Glenister 22 Stirling 8:45.05

4x100m Free Relays

Male/Open

  1. Edinburgh 3:21.39
    Tom Carswell 51.60
    Archie Goodburn 50.65
    Scott Gibson 50.35
    David Cumberlidge 48.79
  2. Stirling 3:23.24
    Evan Jones 50.36
    George Smith 50.59
    Henry Baker 51.32
    Andrew Bertoli 50.97
  3. Bath 3:24.31
    Kaleb Fox-Jones 52.01
    Jack Skerry 51.81
    Josh Gammon 50.46
    Rob Darbyshire 50.03

Female

  1. Loughborough 3:43.17
    Harriet Rogers 56.92
    Sophie De Groot 56.89
    Freya Colbert 55.03
    Kornelia Fiedkiewicz 54.33
  2. Stirling 3:46.01
    Evie Davis 56.56
    Lucy Grieve 56.02
    Keanna Macinnes 57.14
    Katie Shanahan 56.29
  3. Bath 3:48.69
    Anna Farrow 57.53
    Ekaterina Price 58.08
    Maisie Gilford 57.35
    Jemima Hall 55.73

BUCS Results in full

Share this post