Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Aimee's Bronze Breakthrough; Swimming

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Aimee's Bronze Breakthrough; Swimming

Article excerpt

AIMEE WILLMOTT believes she has made a major career breakthrough after building on her 11th place at the London Olympics with a first senior international swimming medal.

The Middlesbrough 19-yearold captured 800m freestyle bronze at the European Short Course Championships in Chartres, France, in a massive lifetime best of 8 minutes 18.90 seconds.

She also set a 400m individual medley personal best, clocking 4.32.56 to finish fourth in the final behind fellow Brit Hannah Miley and Hungarians Katinka Hosszu and Zsuzsanna Jakabos.

And she recorded a third huge PB of 4.01.89 in finishing fifth in the 400m freestyle.

"It's one of the highlights of my career," Willmott said.

"To win your first senior medal is something special, and to swim it 12 seconds faster than usual, I was really shocked.

"I've been training really hard since I got back in September - around 70,000 metres a week - and to see it pay off with my results is really rewarding.

"I couldn't ask for anything more - a best time and to stand on the podium is an amazing feeling."

Willmott's results in France, allied to her 11th place in the 400m individual medley at the Olympics, cap an incredible year for the Ormesby teenager.

The London Games have left an indelible mark on her - she now has the Olympic rings tattooed on her left forearm. And she is determined to leave a lasting impression at the 2016 Olympics in Rio by winning a medal.

"The Olympics was such a fantastic experience, and mixing with all of the top athletes was unforgettable," she said.

"It has left me wanting more. I don't want to just be someone who went to an Olympics and competed, I want to win a medal. Everything I do now is with Rio in mind.

"I'm doing a lot of threshold training for distance but I'm also working on my front crawl technique as well to make it more efficient and make sure I'm not wasting energy. …

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