Sunderland swimmer told to keep focus before Worlds

Nicole Lough
Nicole Lough
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NICOLE LOUGH has been told to stay grounded ahead of next month’s World Championships after demonstrating her medal credentials by smashing the British record.

The City of Sunderland swimmer won gold in the multi-disability 100metres breaststroke at the British Championships last weekend, comfortably finishing ahead of Paralympic medallists Charlotte Henshaw and Claire Cashmore to take top spot on the podium.

Lough’s times of 1m 21.22s in the heats and 1m 20.12s in the final, broke the British record which had stood for 11 years.

And she will head to next month’s International Paralympic Committee World Championships, in Canada, with the third best race in the world this season under her belt.

Coach Danny Thompson admits he has been taken aback by Lough’s explosive form, with the 18-year-old’s training programme geared towards her peaking in Montreal.

But with Lough highlighting her medal hopes, Thompson is attempting to keep the South Shields swimmer level-headed for her debut at a senior major championships.

Lough said: “To show such good performances showed that the cycle of training we’ve been doing has moved her forwards in all areas.

“She’s motoring along really nicely.

“But it is my job to keep her grounded, rather than being distracted by what might be.

“When she goes to Montreal, she will have to focus as if it is any other race.

“It will be her first major games so we’ll see whether she can continue her progress there and beat the best in the world.”

Lough faces a training camp with the British squad in Bath and then the English Championships, before heading to Canada for the competition which begins on Thursday, August 4.

But Thompson admits he has been heartened by the sight of the teenager winning so emphatically at the British Championships against some of those expected to be her medal rivals.

“We went there just to have a hit out and see where she was,” he added.

“She stepped up and produced some outstanding performances – her final swim broke the British record that had stood for 11 years and that time placed her third in the world this year.

“And then to come back out later in the day and knock another second off was pretty outstanding.

“She will have to produce a performance like that in the heats, in Montreal.

“But it was pretty much a world class field and to have such a positive swim was really pleasing.”