Litchfield brothers competing for family bragging rights

Sheffield Hallam University student Joe Litchfield (pictured) is the younger brother of fellow swimmer Max.
Sheffield Hallam University student Joe Litchfield (pictured) is the younger brother of fellow swimmer Max.

BADSWORTH’s Joe Litchfield is no stranger to sibling rivalry but the rising swimmer star believes the BUCS Nationals is the perfect time to take family bragging rights.

Taking place from today (Friday) to Sunday, the BUCS Nationals will see more than 6,000 students from across the country descend on Sheffield for three action packed days of sport.

Sheffield Hallam University student Joe is the younger brother of fellow swimmer Max, a multiple medallist at the championships who will compete at BUCS alongside his brother for the first time this year.

Max, who finished fourth in the 400m individual medley at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, is now back in full time training and returns to domestic action at Sheffield.

Eighteen-year-old Joe, a four-time Youth Commonwealth silver medalist, said: “We like to race and beat each other, it’s something we’ve always faced off with, but currently Max is a little bit ahead of me.

“There’s always the potential for that rivalry, but I’m focused on doing well for myself – I want to get as close to my personal bests as possible then I’ll be happy.

“I race in the 200m freestyle, 200IM and 400IM so there’s a lot going on.

“I should be getting in the top three in a couple of those events and it’s about focusing on my own performance.”

Max was named BUCS sportsman of the year at their annual awards last July but the 21-year-old, who will compete in the 200m and 400m individual medley races, as well as the 400m freestyle, is taking nothing for granted at Sheffield.

“I do hope to win, but the competitive nature means that there will be people pushing me on but hopefully I can get over there and put in a good performance,” he said.

Max added there would be no love lost between the two Litchfield brothers in the pool at Sheffield

“Obviously I have got Joe there so it will be a little bit different I suppose but at the end of the day he is another competitor which sounds kind of harsh and he will be fighting for the same thing I am fighting for,” he said.

“We both see each other as brothers but in the pool we switch the banter off and we are competitors. At the end of the day it’s what we do day in and day out so it should be a normal thing really.”

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. BUCS Nationals is the UK’s largest annual multi-sport event, bringing over 6,000 athletes to Sheffield to compete in nine sports.