Chris has lifeline in bid for Olympic spot

BURY St Edmunds’ Chris Walker-Hebborn still holds a chance of booking a London 2012 Olympic berth despite wasting a golden opportunity at the British Swimming Championships last week.

The 21-year-old was expected to top the podium in the 200m backstroke final at the London 2012 Aquatics Centre after easing in to the final with an impressive swim on Wednesday night.

But things did not go to plan in Thursday’s final as Walker-Hebborn could only manage a third-place finish as Calum Jarvis upset the form book and set a new personal best on his way to gold, with Marco Loughran in second.

However, as none of the times set on the night were quick enough to seal an Olympic spot, the trio will swim off again for a 2012 place at the ASA Nationals in Sheffield this summer.

“I have just got to hold my hands up and say that wasn’t good enough really,” said Walker-Hebborn, who touched home in 1min 59.80secs.

“It was a great race from the boys but I had myself in a tussle at 150 metres which shouldn’t have happened and I just don’t know what went wrong, it just wasn’t good enough so I’m disappointed.

“I’ve been feeling good all week and when I got out to 100m I thought I had control of the race but I let my foot off the gas a bit too much on the 150 and ended up having a fight with the two lads either side of me.

“Calum had a great swim but I just have to hold my hands up really.”

Walker-Hebborn’s Olympic dreams are far from over with the second trials set to take place at the ASA Nationals this June.

And with both Olympic places still up for grabs he knows, a quick swim and a top two finish will be good enough to see him book his London 2012 ticket.

“The plan is to aim at June, we’ll just have to see what happens really,” he added.

“The fact that there are two spots open is definitely a positive to look at because there are a lot of negatives to take in right now.

“But knowing that the two spots are there is something to work towards but I really just have to pick my head up and work out what went wrong.”

A former European Junior Champion, Walker-Hebborn also claimed a silver medal in the 100m backstroke, shaving a hundredth of a second off his personal best as he came home in 54.46s.

He was always going to struggle overhaul Britain’s top male medal hope, Liam Tancock, who won in an impressive 53.16s to book his place in London, with Walker-Hebborn outside the qualifying standard.

n Kellogg’s has been supporting British Swimming for more than 15 years on a ‘grassroots to gold medals’ programme of swimming. Visit www.kelloggs.co.uk/swimming for more information.