Sophie Smith underlined her status as a potential Olympic relay selection with a hat-trick of golds at the BUCS Short Course Championships at Ponds Forge.
The 21-year old was cruelly denied a 200m Individual Medley birth at the London 2012 Olympic Games, ducking under the selection time at the British Trials but touching an agonising third with Sophie Allen collecting the second Olympic spot behind Hannah Miley.
But Smith, who trains under Ian Armiger at Loughborough University, is showing semblances of her best form this winter, touching just 0.62 seconds shy of her PB with a 1:56.63 effort to win the 200m Freestyle and lead this year’s British short course rankings for that event.
Smith was 0.28 seconds off her PB as she tied for 100m Freestyle gold with the University of Edinburgh’s Lucy Hope in 54.62 while her 2:10.65 was comfortably good enough to complete her hat-trick in the 200m Individual Medley.
Another Loughborough student, Tobias Robinson, would be a surprise selection for Rio 2016, but the 19-year old has been showing steady improvement in the distance events this year.
Robinson also jumped to the top of the seasonal British rankings with a PB 14:45.74 to take the 1500m Freestyle title on the opening night in Sheffield before adding 400m Freestyle bronze, also with a PB, in 3:47.44.
In contrast, Scottish swimmer Duncan Scott’s star is so much in the ascendancy that it would be a shock if he missed out on Rio!
And the 18-year old tore up his short course PBs with a hat-trick of golds in Sheffield, clocking 3:43.99 over 400m Freestyle, 1:44.98 for 200m Freestyle gold, and – perhaps most impressively – beating Ben Proud to the touch with a Scottish record 47.78 effort in the 100m Freestyle.
Double Commonwealth champion Proud topped the podium himself with a 21.40 effort over 50m Freestyle and a 23.17 win in the 50m Butterfly while Plymouth Leander teammate Antony James, who competed at the London 2012 Olympics, took the 100m Butterfly crown in 51.12, his fastest time for six years.
Craig Benson was one of the big shocks of the British Olympic team in 2012, securing a spot in the 100m Breaststroke, then reaching the semi-finals at the Games.
And while World Championship gold and bronze medallists Adam Peaty and Ross Murdoch are expected to claim the Olympic spots for next year, Benson laid down a reminder of his talent with a breaststroke clean sweep in Sheffield.
The 21-year old surged to PBs in all three distances, touching in a Scottish record 26.84 over 50m Breast, 58.26 for the 100m Breast and 2:06.12 over 200m Breast.