SWIM star Jay Lelliott is in the form of his life going into next week’s European Championships in Berlin.
The 19-year-old will don Team GB colours for the first time in his senior career after being crowned British Youth Champion at the British Gas ASA National Youth Champion-ships in the men’s 19-and-over 400m freestyle.
Lelliott finished second in the final behind Canada’s Jeremy Bagshaw, earning him the title of top Brit in the competition.
Talking about his newly-won crown, Lelliott told Echosport: “In the final I got given a silver and gold medal because the person who won was foreign, so I was crowned British Youth champion.
“I knew that he was the one who beat me straight away and I didn’t really care about my time, the only thing I wanted was the medal. I have been working so hard and I’ve come fourth so many times at the nationals, and I am so happy that I managed to break the streak really.”
The former Tornadoes of South Dorset swimmer will travel to Germany on Saturday in preparation to go in the 400m freestyle, 200m butterfly and the 1,500 freestyle – the event in which he finished sixth in this year’s Commonwealth Games.
“It’s my first full competition at international level for GB,” he added.
“I’m actually going to be really busy when I get there straight away. I have the 400m freestyle and the 1,500m freestyle the next day, then the 200m fly heats are the next day after that.”
With his intensive schedule of events, if Lelliott makes the 1,500m final and the 200m butterfly semi-final, he will have to swim both races in the same session, but this is something the youngster wants to get used to.
“I am just going to have to get ready for it, hopefully this is a stepping stone for bigger things,” he said.
“I will just put a real emphasis on recovery and try and do everything right to get the best recovery possible, it’s going to be really challenging.
“I am excited about trying out some new events. When I set my PB in the 200m fly last week I had barely done any racing in it whatsoever, or any training, so I was amazed it came together and felt so good. I’m looking forward to giving that a proper go.”