Chris aims to step up his game ready for Olympics

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BURY St Edmunds swimmer Chris Walker-Hebborn insists it is time for action not words in his quest for international honours after failing to make a World Championship final in China.

The 21-year-old arrived in Shanghai with high hopes of making the 200m backstroke medal showdown after missing out by just one place at the last worlds in Rome two years ago.

Walker-Hebborn exited the heats of the 100m backstroke on day two after being ranked 26th overall with a time of 54.91seconds but it did not dim his hopes of prospering over double the distance.

However, the four-time European junior champion’s fortune was not to improve and, in the 200m heats, he touched home in 1:58.59minutes to finish one place and 0.11seconds short of making the semi-finals.

Walker-Hebborn has less than 12 months to fine-tune his act before the London 2012 Olympics but believes time spent redrawing his blueprint is time wasted.

“I’m a bit disappointed obviously but the 200m was the best heat swim in a morning I had ever done so I can’t complain, said Walker-Hebborn.

“It is just everyone has stepped their game up and I got the short straw so hopefully it will be better luck next time I guess.

“I just need to get my head down and work and not necessarily reassess because as far as I am concerned, and as morning swims go, it was not bad but it just wasn’t enough.”

It was the second time in four days Walker-Hebborn had exited in the heats, with American Scott Clary leading the field through to the last 16 in 1:56.32.

After refusing to put it down to coincidence, Walker-Hebborn admitted he must be ready to race from the start if he is to avoid a repeat of his Shanghai heartache at next summer’s Olympics.

“There are a lot of people stepping their game up in the morning and I tried to step my game up and thought I had made it but I’ve fallen short again, added Walker-Hebborn.

“It is a different mentality and a different approach to what I am used to and we have to approach every event as if it is a final because there is no messing about, and I just fell short.”

PLEASE LEAVE IN FINAL PAR – British Gas is supporting the British Gas GBR Swimming Team to win more gold medals, as part of its partnership with the sport at all levels. For more information visit www.britishgas.co.uk/swimming.