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Swimming: Steph Proud not giving up on Olympic dream

STEPH Proud missed Olympic qualification by 0.8sec last night – but left the London Aquatics Centre knowing she could still make the team via the last-chance trials in June.

STEPH Proud missed Olympic qualification by 0.8sec last night – but left the London Aquatics Centre knowing she could still make the team via the last-chance trials in June.

If she decides to enter them at all, that is.

After coming second to Olympic qualifier Lizzie Simmonds in the 200m backstroke at the British Gas Championships in 2:09.94, the 23-year-old from Chester-le-Street said she was not certain she would return from her Florida training base for the last-chance trials in June.

“Probably,” she said when asked if she would be at Sheffield for a second attempt at qualification for this summers Olympics in London.

“I am going to have to think about this.

“I am pleased with coming second in a world-class field, but I can swim faster than that.”

Frustratingly, Proud’s silver-winning time was almost a second inside the FINA A time required of the race winner to make the Olympic team.

Runners-up in the trials need to match the 2011 world top-16 time and she was a second short of that.

Proud added: “I was well inside the FINA A time but this is the standard British Swimming have set so I have to live with it.

“I have worked very, very hard.” The three-time European junior champion was reeling in the fast-starting Simmonds in the closing stages as the Loughborough-based swimmer tired.

However, Proud said: “Lizzie always goes out fast.

“Sometimes I think maybe speed is something I have to work on.

“I am not a 59sec 100m backstroker and I never will be. I have to swim my own race.”

Simmonds’ winning time was 2:08.67.

City of Newcastle 19-year-old Jessica Thielmann finished seventh in 8:42.73 in a world class 800m freestyle final, won by Olympic champion and world record holder Rebecca Adlington, whose 8:18.54 means she has now set the world’s three fastest times of 2012 over the distance.

 

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