Max Litchfield strikes gold in European Short Course Championships while brother Joe reaches finals

Badsworth’s Olympic hopeful Max Litchfield boosted his confidence ahead of a big year when he won his first global title in the European Short Course Championships in Glasgow.

Sunday, 8th December 2019, 7:17 pm
Updated Sunday, 8th December 2019, 7:18 pm
Brothers Joe Litchfield and Max Litchfield, who enjoyed success at the European Short Course Championships.

Litchfield triumphed in the 400m individual medley at the European Short Course Championships in Glasgow.

He led from start to finish to win gold after attacking the final from the outset to open up a lead of more than half a second at the midway stage.

Litchfield remained well in control as he turned for the final leg more than a second ahead of Russian Ilia Borodin.

And as he was finishing with his strongest stroke, freestyle, the victory was never in doubt as he ended more than two seconds clear of Borodin.

The 24-year-old challenged his own British record in the final 100m, but finished just a second adrift with a time of 4:01.36.

For Litchfield, who won silver and bronze medals at the 2018 European Long Course Championships at the same venue an finished fourth in the 2016 Olympics, it was a great breakthrough victory.

He said: “To get the win here, in front of a home crowd, is just awesome and so I’m really pleased.

“It still feels weird racing internationally in December, but it’s nice to have that competitive nature and swimming for GB always helps as does having the home crowd who are always behind us.

“This has been a great pool to me over the years and it’s so nice to get the win.

“The trials and the Olympics will obviously be the focus for this season, but after two years of injury struggles it’s great to be up there showing what I can do.”

Short course championships take place in 25m pools; half the length of the swimming pools used during the Olympic Games.

With the Olympics coming up in 2020 Litchfield’s next aim is to make the Great Britain team for the Tokyo event then aim to go at least one better than in 2016 when he so narrowly missed out on a medal in his preferred 400m individual medley event.

In the 200m IM Max was not so successful as he finished fourth in his heat and narrowly missed out on the final.

However, Max’s younger brother, Joe, was encouraged by reaching the 200m IM final in the fifth fastest time and although eighth in the final it was good experience for him.

Joe went on to continue his fantastic meet – his first senior international event – after qualifying in fourth for the 50m backstroke, swimming a personal best along the way, and finishing in fifth in the final. He was also seventh in the 100m IM final.

Joe will now be looking to emulate his brother in going to the Olympics with his chances boosted by his latest performances.