Olympian Max strikes gold in BUCS as he goes head to head with brother Joe

Max Litchfield at the BUCS Championships. Picture:  Capture the Event
Max Litchfield at the BUCS Championships. Picture: Capture the Event

HE WAS victorious in the battle of the brothers and Max Litchfield admits he could not have been happier to swim away with three gold medals at BUCS Nationals at the weekend.

Team GB Olympian Litchfield pipped younger brother Joe to the post in both the 200m and 400m individual medley, before adding a third title to his collection in the 400m freestyle at Ponds Forge.

Taking place from Friday to Sunday, BUCS Nationals saw more than 6,000 students descend on the Steel City.

And while the Badsworth siblings missed out on another medal when Hallam finished fourth in the 400m medley team event, 21-year-old Max insists he relished every second of going head-to-head with his little brother in the water.

“It’s great to have won medals, but it’s all about the time for me at the moment. It’s about the process and putting things in place,” he said.

“It’s amazing to race against my brother, I’ve been racing against him for a few years now, well all my life! To race against him at the same senior club together is a little bit different. He’s swimming the same as me, as hard as me, and it’s just a matter of him getting his processes right in the next few years. I’m sure he’s going to make some big strides forward.

“BUCS Nationals is always a great meet to see where we’re at and looking forward to trials. It’s a good stepping stone to see how we’re swimming and put some things right before them.”

The UK’s largest annual multi-sport event, BUCS Nationals has provided a building block in the fledging careers of many of Great Britain’s finest athletes.

And for 18-year-old Joe, who picked up two silver medals, he could not have been happier with his performances ahead of the upcoming British Championships, which double up as the trials for July’s World Championships in Budapest.

“My target is to do well at the trials in April, where I’ll hopefully be able to get my time down to two minutes like Max in the 200m IM, or even push it under that,” he said.

“That would be a great achievement to do this year going into my first senior year.

“This weekend hasn’t been too bad for me. I had the 200m freestyle first, and while my heat was alright, I felt awful for the final and it went downhill from there.

“In the 400m IM, I was three seconds over my PB, which at this point of the season is very good I’d say. If we edit all my strokes a little in certain areas, hopefully by the British Championships I’ll be able to go five or six seconds faster. In the 200m IM, I went 2:06 in the heats and felt pretty decent with myself and then to go PB plus two seconds in the final, the fastest I’ve ever been untapered, is a really good achievement.”

British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the national governing body for Higher Education (HE) sport in the UK, organising leagues and competitions for more than 150 institutions across 52 different sports. BUCS Nationals is the UK’s largest annual multi-sport event, bringing over 6,000 athletes to Sheffield to compete in nine sports.