CHRIS Walker-Hebborn stormed back to form with a fine display in the 200m backstroke at the British Gas ASA National Championships.
The Bury St Edmunds swimmer secured a gold medal and with it a place in the British team for this summer’s World Championships in Shanghai.
His season’s best time of 1min 57.20secs at the championships in Sheffield put him equal sixth in the world this year.
“I’ve done what I needed to do and it feels very good,” said Walker-Hebborn.
“Everything has been going really well and it felt that way in the race.
“I had to go out hard as there was quality in that field but managed to keep it going right to the wall as I knew they’d come after me.
“I wanted the make the team so badly and it hurt a lot, but the way I feel now is worth it.”
The 20-year-old, who is currently based in Bath, is a former British record holder in the 200m backstroke, having raced to a time of 1:56.05 in the 2009 World Championships in Rome when placing ninth.
He beat James Goddard – who broke Walker-Hebborn’s record the following year at the Commonwealth Games – to the British title in 2009 and will join his compatriot as Britain’s representatives in Shanghai this July.
Walker-Hebborn, who celebrates his 21st birthday in two weeks, was gunning for another medal last night in the final of the 100m backstroke.
He qualified for the final in second, behind Marco Loughlin, with a time of 55.44secs.
And with just over 12 months to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, he will be hoping to have a good season in preparation.