OLYMPIC swimmer Max Litchfield from Badsworth is confident his Sheffield Hallam team can continue their recent progress at BUCS Nationals this weekend.
Physiotherapy student Litchfield, who finished fourth in the 400m individual medley at Rio 2016, has been ruled out of the event with a shoulder injury, but still believes his side can compete at the top.
“It’s annoying to miss out, as I like to do student events and see how I’m swimming,” said the 22-year-old.
“There have been good times over the years, it’s been great to come in and swim well for Sheffield Hallam.
“I enjoy being in a team environment there with my university, it’s really enjoyable.
“But right now the priority is not to be racing on my shoulder injury and making it any worse, but to make sure I’m training well and getting rehab done and getting back fully fit for the Commonwealth Games in April.
“That’s got to be the main target going ahead at the moment.
“Hallam have done incredibly at improving our team score since I’ve been there over the past five years.
“That’s down to the team doing well and training hard.
“I’ll be there at some point I’m sure, it will be good for Joe [his younger brother] to see where he is at leading into the Commonwealths and good to see where we are at and will be in a few months’ time.”
Despite the injury ruling him out of another BUCS Nationals appearance, Litchfield is optimistic he will be fully fit ahead of the Commonwealth Games in April.
He added: “The shoulder’s feeling pretty good to be fair.
“The last three weeks I’ve been away on a camp and we’ve progressed really well and made massive progress in and out of the pool.
“Things are looking good and the next few weeks will be a decider on what could happen in the coming months but things are looking very positive at the moment.”
Having claimed a World Championships silver medal in Canada in 2016, the next target for Litchfield is to win on the Gold Coast later this year.
He said: “I’m massively excited, I’ve had my spot booked since last summer so the pressure has been off in that sense.
“It’s a matter of getting my head down and working hard and hopefully the results will come for me.
“A lot of Aussie boys are pretty fast and Joe is there as well, and the Scottish boy Dan Wallace as well.
“There’s plenty of competition out there, there’s going to be some great racing so I’m just looking forward to getting out there, it’ll be really good.
“It’s a lot different racing against people you know and are on a team with but at the end of the day it’s an individual sport and you’ve got to race your teammates sometimes.
“I’ll go in there the same as any other meet really.”
BUCS Nationals powered by Muhdo is the largest annual multi-sport event in the UK, bringing the best of Britain’s university athletes together to compete across eight different sports in Sheffield. More info at bucs.org.uk and via #BUCSNationals