Litchfield strikes gold ahead of Olympic trials

Max Litchfield (centre) at the BUCS Nationals
Max Litchfield (centre) at the BUCS Nationals

Badsworth swimmer Max Litchfield admits he blew the cobwebs away in style after picking up three gold medals at this year’s BUCS Nationals in Sheffield, as he continues along the road to Rio.

Litchfield joined more than 6,000 other students in heading to the Steel City for the big event.

He is currently studying sports science at Sheffield Hallam University and proved his class in the Pond’s Forge pool by winning the men’s 200m individual medley, the 400m equivalent and 400m freestyle.

That meant Litchfield – who competed at the 2014 Commonwealth Games – went one better than 12 months ago at BUCS Nationals when he picked up two golds and a silver.

The 20-year-old will now be building towards the Olympic trials in April and claims that his performance at BUCS was the perfect preparation.

“It’s all towards the trials for me now and it’s all a stepping stone towards that really,” explained Litchfield.

“I came here just wanting to nail the skills really and I feel like I did pretty well with the skills in there so I’m just going to keep moving forward.

“The 400m medley was especially good. I did 4:24 minutes last weekend so to take four seconds off that is pretty decent and I’m happy with it.

“It felt a lot better than last weekend, so overall I am pretty happy with that. It was a good race and there was some good competition out there that pushed me all the way and maybe forced me to keep it going to shave those seconds off.”

Litchfield is a veteran of the BUCS Nationals, having competed at the event twice before, and acknowledges it is an event he always enjoys.

And he believes that this year’s competition was perfect for him as he continues his recovery from a recent injury.

“I’ve had a bit of a problem with my hip recently so to go in there and do well was great because I only started swimming breaststroke last weekend,” added Litchfield.

“I had an inflammation on my pubic bone so I’ve not been doing breaststroke really since BUCS short course so it’s been a while.

“It is on its way to being better now, it’s getting there but it’s not 100 per cent yet but I feel good.

“BUCS is a great event and you have all the best from all the universities from around the country so it’s good to be part of a team instead of just racing for yourself.”

British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the national governing body for Higher Education (HE) sport in the UK, organising leagues and competitions for more than 150 institutions across 52 different sports. Partnered by Deloitte, BUCS supports athletes from a grass roots level through to Commonwealth and Olympic Games hopefuls www.bucs.org.uk