SWIMMER Jay Lelliott has admitted he is still in a state of shock after his exploits at this week’s European Champion-ships in Germany.
Portland ace Lelliott won bronze in the 400m freestyle – his first major international medal – and went sub-15 minutes in the 1500m for a huge personal best.
The 19-year-old described standing on the medal podium as a “surreal” experience and one which he certainly wants to repeat in the future.
And Lelliott, who is now taking a well-earned break, has no doubts that he can build on what he achieved in Berlin.
“I’m still in shock, but so happy with what I did,” he said.
“It was amazing to get a medal because I didn’t really expect to get one.
“I didn’t write myself off, I knew it was going to be hard, but it was incredible standing on the podium.
“I pushed too hard in the 400m heats and afterwards my coach said I had to take the pressure off my legs and save them for the last 200m.
“It worked really well and I had a two-second personal best in the final.
“Standing on the podium was surreal. When you medal in a British competition you get your medal and walk off, but there you had the national anthem of the winner playing.
“Even though it was not the British one, it was still really cool. It was a hugely emotional moment and an enjoyable one.
“It makes you more focused on wanting it to be the British anthem for you the next time.”
And looking back at the 1500m, where he finished fifth, he added: “After the heat I knew that if I got it right I could go under 15 minutes, and I’m so happy I managed to do it.
“I went off the boil near the end and when I finished I thought I had blown my chances of going sub-15, but seeing 14.58 on the board was what mattered to me.
“There was no disappointment whatsoever that I hadn’t got a medal because the competition was incredible.
“Now I really want to prove to myself that it’s not the best I can do, and I know I can do a lot better than that.”