JAY Lelliott smashed his lifetime best by more than seven seconds at the European Champions in Berlin, but the Portland teenager missed out on a medal in the final of the 1500m freestyle yesterday.
Looking to add to the bronze he won in Monday’s 400m freestyle, Lelliott finished fifth over the longer distance in 14mins 58.74secs – Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri took gold in a new championship record of 14:39.93.
While Paltrinieri bossed the final from the gun, Lelliott, pictured, was in contention for a medal until he slipped back during the last third of the race.
Pal Joensen of the Faroe Islands was second more than 10 seconds behind the champion, with another Italian, Gabriele Detti, third. Lelliott’s fellow Brit Stephen Milne was fourth.
“Jay will be really pleased with his time,” said the 19-year-old’s dad Steve.
“Going sub-15 minutes was what he was aiming for at the Commonwealth Games so to do it at the Europeans is fantastic.
“It’s a shame he couldn’t beat Stephen because they have got a friendly rivalry going on, but he came back really strongly.
“To be honest, I don’t think Jay was expecting a medal as there is so much quality in the 1500m in Europe.
“But he is less than a year into a full programme and this time next year he is probably going to be quicker than he is now.”
Reflecting on his son’s bronze in the 400m, he added: “It was fantastic and beyond our wildest dreams.
“We hoped he would make a final at the Europeans but to actually medal and then break 15 minutes in the 1500m was amazing.”
Lelliott will now take a break for a few weeks before looking to make the British team for the Short Course World Championships in Doha this December.