Swimming: Jay Lelliott boosts Commonwealth Games hopes

COMMONWEALTH GAMES HOPEFUL: Jay Lelliott

COMMONWEALTH GAMES HOPEFUL: Jay Lelliott

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SWIM Bournemouth’s Jay Lelliott staked his claim for Commonwealth Games selection with a stunning British Championships performance that saw him leapfrog all but one of his domestic rivals.

Lelliott, who underwent two operations for a recurrent brain tumour when he was 12 and 13, slashed 22 seconds off his previous best to win the 1500m freestyle silver medal in the same Glasgow pool that will host the Commonwealth showdown in July.

The 19-year-old was beaten only by GB number one Dan Fogg, a 2012 Olympic finalist in this event.

Lelliott’s time of 15:12.70 took the Bath University student to seventh in the Commonwealth rankings – but effectively sixth, as one of those ahead of him came fourth in Glasgow so is unlikely to be selected.

His own selection is not guaranteed, as a maximum of 36 England swimmers can be picked based on how close they are to a Commonwealth top-three ranking.

But the selectors can choose up to three swimmers per event and Lelliott is now second in line for the 1500m freestyle berths.

He said: “I have a chance of selection but it is touch and go. It is based on the percentage of your time above the Commonwealth top three and mine is border line.

“It’s nerve-wracking but whatever happens I’ve done what I set out to – get to finals and make a statement to get myself on the team (GB). I’ve done that so I’m happy. Anything else would be a bonus.”

Earlier, the Dorset record holder carved five seconds off his previous best to come fourth in the 400m freestyle in 3:49.64. But neither time will count as a county record, as Lelliott was swimming for Bath University.

Bournemouth Collegiate School’s Beth Aitchison rewrote the Dorset breaststroke records with new standards over all three distances.

The 16-year-old sliced half-a-second off Alex Savage’s senior records from 2005 with times of 32.18 and 1:10.87 in the semi-finals of the 50 and 100m breaststroke in which she went on to place eighth and seventh in the finals.

She was 11th in the 200m in 2:34.49, a 0.02sec improvement on Charlotte Evans’ record from 2001.

Swim Bournemouth’s Jack Burton – swimming for Plymouth Leander – is the new British junior champion in two events after winning the 50 and 200m breaststroke in 28.92 and 2:22.64.

The 200m time was just 0.16sec outside the qualifying standard for the European Junior Championships in July so Burton will have to hope GB selectors award him one of the four wild card places on offer.

Poole’s Dan Speers, swimming for Millfield, took silver in the junior 50m freestyle final in 23.61, also outside the European qualifying time.

Fiona Hardie, swimming for Poole, came 20th, 21st and 31st respectively in the 50 and 100m butterfly and 50m freestyle in 28.22, 1:02.46 and 27.00.

Former Bournemouth Dolphin Amelia Maughan can expect an England relay call-up for Glasgow 2014 after coming sixth – but fourth English – in the 200m freestyle.

Maughan, now based at Bath, recorded 1:59.35 – faster than the surviving Dorset record that won Karen Legg Commonwealth silver in 2002.

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