He may be one of Britain’s more experienced swimmers currently on the international circuit, but four-time Olympic medalist Rebecca Adlington believes the key to success for Chris Walker-Hebborn this summer is the Bury swimmer’s confidence levels.
Despite making his senior World Championship debut in 2009, it has been the last few years where Walker-Hebborn has really made his mark, with double gold at the Commonwealth Games, as well as three European titles all arriving in 2014.
He stepped that up again in 2015, clinching his first world title as part of the 4x100 medley relay, and then backing that up with 50m backstroke silver and 100m backstroke bronze at the European Short Course Championships before the year was out.
And, with British and European Swimming Championships on the horizon in the next couple of months before August’s Olympic Games in Rio, Adlington believes Walker-Hebborn is starting to demonstrate is full potential.
“I always think Chris is older than he is because he’s been on the team for such a long time,” she said.
“He’s always been there or thereabouts and I thought last year, he really raised the bar and was like ‘hello, I’m here, remember me?’
“It’s great for Chris because I think he’s really come into his own. His skills are absolutely incredible.
“I always think with Chris is that he just needs a bit of confidence. Chris just needs to believe in himself and if he does that, then he’ll be on form.
“But if he doesn’t, and if anything knocks his confidence, he’s not the guy that everyone knows he can be.”
Tickets for the European Aquatics Championships – the biggest event to be held at the London Aquatics Centre since the 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games – from May 9-22 are now available here: www.euroaquatics2016.london