Max Litchfield happy with bronze medal in European Championships
Max Litchfield continued his Olympic preparations with a number of encouraging swims that ended with him bringing back a medal from the European Swimming Championships in Budapest..
After finishing in eighth place in the 200m individual medley, Badsworth’s Litchfield took to the water in his stronger 400m IM event and finished in third place in the final.
The bronze medal added to a silver Max won in the same discipline at the European Championships in 2018.
While the swim in the final left the now Loughborough-based swimmer with work to do for the bigger event this summer he was only two seconds outside his personal best as he recorded a time of 4:11.56.
Ahead of him were Russian teenager Ilya Borodin (4:10.12) and surprise package Italian Alberto Razzetti (4:11.17), but Litchfield did finish ahead of three-time defending champion David Verraszto.
He had to dig deep to get into the medals after being down in sixth after the opening butterfly leg, but produced a great final freestyle leg to improve to third down the final 50m.
“I’m really happy with that. I would’ve liked to have been higher up the medals, I always would, but to come away with a medal from a meet where we’re not fully rested is great,” said Max after receiving his bronze.
“It’s a good drop from trials and I swam better, tactically and technically, than trials – it’s positives all round and it looks good going forward.
“You can’t help what other people do, I’ve just got to get in there and do my best.
“The way I’m swimming and the way I feel when I’m swimming, it feels like I did in 2016 and 2017, and that’s the way I swim it best, coming back fast.”
Max's younger brother, Joe, helped the men's 4x100m freestyle team to win their silver medal in the championships.
Although not in the four-man team in the final, Joe anchored the GB team home in the heats, ensuring a good lane for the final for the first choice relay line-up who were rested for the qualifier and ultimately able to give their best in the finale.
Max, meanwhile, is getting behind Swim England’s new outdoor swimming pledge.
During lockdown, he became more involved in environmental work, including a number of litter picks.
And following the recent launch of the governing body’s outdoor swimming pledge, the 26-year-old said: “I think it’s an amazing campaign, the fact that we even have to do this in the first place is crazy.
“The fact that people can’t go and swim in the majority of places outdoors in the UK is pretty bad. It’s pretty self-explanatory that this campaign has to happen. You can see from the amount of stuff on social media and through going out myself and doing litter picks and stuff, you see how much pollution is in our countryside.
“That’s even more apparent in our waterways as well because that’s where it ends up half the time, it’s where it gets washed to.
“When you have big thunderstorms and rainstorms it gets put into the drains and then eventually it ends up in rivers and lakes and stuff.
“The fact that’s the case is terrible, but it’s amazing that Swim England and everyone behind it are aiming for cleaner waters and safer waters for everyone to use.
“It’s amazing that it’s something that is starting and I’m just happy to get behind it.”