DORSET swimming star Jay Lelliott admitted winning his maiden two British titles in Edinburgh was a “bittersweet” moment after failing to gain a qualifying time for the European Championships.

Lelliott, 23, took gold in the 400 and 800m freestyle at the British Swimming Championships but his time of 3.50.85 fell short of the required 400m automatic selection mark of 3:48.1 for the British squad for August’s Europeans in Glasgow.

Speaking to Echosport after his breakthrough triumphs, which included beating long-time rival James Guy in the 400m free final, Lelliott felt improvements in his swimming were tangible.

He said: “It’s great, but it’s bittersweet because I would have loved to get the qualifying time for the Euros, but I missed it.

“I’m really happy to actually get a win. I’ve never had that at a British Champs and to pick up two in one week was great.

“I didn’t really drop off too much from swim to swim where I have in the past. I just would have liked to be a bit quicker, but that will come.”

Lelliott still sees room for improvement, but was buoyed by defeating “top dog” Guy.

He said: “I’ve got a lot to go away with on my stroke and see what I can do in the future. I’ve got to progress and work out what to do next.

“But it’s a good feeling. I’ve been racing Jimmy for a long time – he’s always been the top dog. It’s nice to beat him but I know he wasn’t rested. He’s focusing purely on the Commonwealths next month.

“It’s good to get the win. I can only race the shape that people are in, but I’m pretty happy with it all.”

Lelliott also revealed he is currently taking a week’s rest, but remains motivated to improve.

He said: “That was my last chance for the Euros. I’m taking a week off because I’ve had a couple of niggles in my shoulder.

“I’m going back to the drawing board and I’m not holding out hope for the Euros, I don’t think I’m on the team but I’ll see what I can do and keep pushing.”

Lelliott, who had been racing for Bath University, switched to City of Sheffield after a desire to shake up his routine.

The Portland ace, who is working as a bartender and a swim teacher, said: “It was all very rushed. I thought I was in the shape of my life in the summer and I just couldn’t execute.

“I was struggling with being in the same place and I thought about mixing things up. I managed to get a house and get set up in another location.

“I’m happy I made the move – I’m enjoying it. I’m setting my life up and I’m working a few jobs,” he said.