Punishing schedule sees Chris pushed to the limit

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IT IS a case of no pain no gain for Bury St Edmunds swimming star Chris Walker-Hebborn, who admits his current training schedule may be punishing, but he is determined to push himself to the limit at the European Short Course Championships.

Walker-Hebborn is the current 200m backstroke British record holder and is aiming to smash his own record when he challenges the cream of the continent in Poland between next week.

The 21-year-old is also setting his sights on the 100m backstroke event when he competes in Szczecin, having jetted out to Eindhoven this weekend to sharpen his racing skills at the Dutch Open.

But, his preparations did not start there, Walker-Hebborn already feeling the burn in the build-up to the short course season and is desperate to make sure his body is at its peak when it really matters.

“Training is hard at the moment, gruelling, and I am absolutely wiped out,” admits Walker-Hebborn who, as part of British Swimming’s Big Splash campaign is urging people to take up swimming for 30 minutes once a week.

“But it is going really well and its all eyes on the European Short Course Championships so everything is on the up even though it is tough.

“I love short course swimming and I would love to go and have a bash at trying to lower my British 200m backstroke record.

“I won’t be tapering for it, I will be staying in the water and it is another chance to get some good competitive racing in.

“It has been a while since I raced short course and it is good to race against the big boys in Europe and you can’t pass up that opportunity and hopefully I can take confidence from it.”

Although Walker-Hebborn takes his short course swimming seriously, he can be forgiven for being slightly distracted by an enormous event just around the corner — London 2012.

The 21-year-old will use the short course season as useful building blocks towards his ultimate goal of Olympic qualification and the thought of gracing the Games’ venue is something which drives him forward.

“Come March, with the trials being at the Olympic pool – that will give me that little bit of an extra boost,” Walker-Hebborn added.

“Leading up to the home Olympics, with the pool in London and the home crowd cheering us on, I am sure that will have a huge benefit.”

n British Swimming’s Big Splash campaign is supported by principal partner British Gas, and supporting partners Kellogg’s and Speedo.

For more information on great swimming activities and offers visit www.bigsplash.co.uk