After nearly a year out with a damaged shoulder, Badsworth boy Max Litchfield is now back stronger than ever as he showed with a superb swim in the England National Short Course Winter Championships.
The 23-year-old City of Sheffield club swimmer broke the British record in the men’s 400 metres individual medley in his home pool at Ponds Forge.
The world class swim was the stand-out performance in an event that saw Great Britain’s top swimmers take on Canada’s best.
Max scored a new 400m IM personal best mark of 4:00.18 to take gold and surpass his previous own national record of 4:00.66, set at the 2016 FINA Short Course World Championships.
His outing would have won silver at this year’s Short Course World Championships that have just concluded in Hangzhou, finishing well behind Japan’s Daiya Seto’s mark of 3:56.43, but comfortably ahead of second-placed Thomas Fraser Holmes’ (Australia) 4:02.74.
China’s Wang Shun holds a faster time in the world rankings with a mark of 3:59.99 he was unable to replicate in Hangzhou, but Maz’s time was the third fastest in the world this year.
His new British record came with his third gold medal of the English National Winter Championships as he enjoyed a fantastic week in Sheffield.
Max also won the 200m IM in the third fastest time ever by a British swimmer. The time of 1:53.21 was a new personal best and puts him behind only Liam Tancock and James Goddard in the GB all-time rankings.
Another success came in the 400m freestyle in the second fastest ever time by a British swimmer, behind James Guy, as Max finished in 3:38.13.
Of his new record, Litchfield stated: “I’m really pleased with that. There’s a bit of mixed emotions, I guess as I wanted to go sub four minutes, but it’s been a good week and a good end to 2018.
“Hopefully, I can transfer that into 2019. I’m really looking forward to next year and getting on with what I do best, which is fast swimming.
“It was a great way to end what has been a rollercoaster of a year.
“At this point in 2017, I still couldn’t swim so to have had a very solid meet and post good swims is very positive for next year and beyond.
“A trio of personal bests and a British record is not a bad way to finish my racing for 2018!
“I’m going to have a few days off over the festive period and enjoy some family time before hitting it hard again in January starting with an altitude camp.”
Taking silver in the 400 IM behind Max was younger brother Joe Litchfield, who notched a new personal best of 4:09.62.
He also had a fantastic meet with four silver medals in total, finishing runner-up to Max in the 200 IM with a new personal best of 1:55.54 and to James Guy in the 100m butterfly in yet another PB of 51.87 seconds.
The Sheffield event proved a fantastic end to 2018 for the Litchfield boys who are looking forward to a well earned rest over Christmas before heading off to Arizona in January for high altitude training then onto the British Long Course Championships to be held in Glasgow in April.
This will be the qualification event for the 2019 World Championships to be held in Gwangju, South Korea in July.