Up-and-coming swimmer James Bartley found his best form when it mattered with a series of personal bests at the National Winter Swimming Championships.
The 15-year-old, from Melton, qualified for six events, but after his coaches advised him to reduce his programme to five, clocked PBs in four of those disciplines. “The nationals went really well for me with four PBs which was good compared to the back end of last season,” he said.
“I think this could be a turning point for the next few seasons.”
It looks like a hectic year for the Melton swimmer who will have to juggle his demands in the pool with sitting his GCSEs.
He added: “I’m going to focus on training over the coming weeks, and hopefully in the future I will qualify for some more national meets.”
On day one at Ponds Forge, Bartley achieved a great new PB in the 400m freestyle and then matched his previous best mark in the 200m backstroke.
The following day, he showed terrific form in the 200m butterfly, dropping almost seven seconds off his time recorded at the South West Championships just six weeks prior.
Going straight into the 1500m freestyle, Bartley set off on slightly the wrong pace and in such a long and gruelling race found it difficult to get that back, finishing just outside his PB.
He rested thoroughly before the third and final day of the championships and it paid off as he produced an incredible swim in the 400m individual medley to set a new personal best of 4min 40.64secs which ranks him 17th for his age in England.
Dad John added: “His performances showed his is back on track.
“His coaches are still excited about the future as he is still relatively small versus the rest of his age group, although he does need to start growing and putting weight on soon.”