Chris hoping Rio selectors see past time

RIO CALLING? Chris Walker Hebborn in action
RIO CALLING? Chris Walker Hebborn in action

Chris Walker-Hebborn insists he can challenge in Rio provided the selectors give him a reprieve following a mixed performance at the 2016 British Swimming Championships.

The 25-year-old who hails for Bury St Edmunds claimed the British 100m backstroke title at Glasgow’s Tollcross International Swimming Centre on Tuesday evening.

LIVING ON A PRAYER: Bury's Chris Walker-Hebborn hopes he is given an Olympic repreive when the GB swimming squad is announced a week on Thursday

LIVING ON A PRAYER: Bury's Chris Walker-Hebborn hopes he is given an Olympic repreive when the GB swimming squad is announced a week on Thursday

But he could only manage a time of 53.73 seconds, nearly a second outside his personal best, and crucially well outside the 52.99 qualifying standard.

And with the team set to be announced a week on Thursday, that leaves his hopes of swimming in Rio hanging by a thread.But Walker-Hebborn could get onto the plane as part of the medley relay squad.

And after what he admits was a difficult build-up because of a tooth problem, Walker-Hebborn was bullish that he can still make an impact in Brazil.

He said: “It wasn’t a great swim but I’m happy to come away with a gold medal, so it’s up to the selectors now.

“I need to reassess. I’ve had a few hiccups and I’m not one for making excuses, but if I’m firing on all cylinders I know it’s there for me.

“I’ve been on antibiotics for a dodgy wisdom tooth that needs to be taken out, but I decided against it in the lead up to this so that maybe put me at 90 per cent instead of 100.

“I think there is a strong possibility I can still be selected especially for the medley relay.”

He added: “That was the first time in a long time that I’ve underperformed but hopefully they can oversee that and look at my consistency over the last couple of years.

“Selection is out of my hands now; they are tough times but there is a reason they select them and make it that hard.

“If I’m on the team then great, and if not, then I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.”

n Tickets for the European Aquatics Championships – the biggest event to be held at the London Aquatics Centre since the 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games – from May 9-22 are now available here: www.euroaquatics2016.london