THE post-Olympic season is never an easy one and while Molly Renshaw couldn’t improve on her Rio performance at the World Swimming Championships in Budapest, the Selston breaststroke star is confident she is on the right path.
Sixth in Brazil last year, Renshaw recorded her best time since that Olympic final, going 2:22.96 in the 200m breaststroke.
That was enough for the same position she had managed this time last year, albeit two tenths slower. But after taking eight weeks off after Rio, Renshaw was thrilled to be back close to her best.
She said: “I’m really happy with that time. I knew going into it that it would be hard to get involved in the race from the outside lane.
“I went into it trying to swim my own race with blinkers on and see where it got me. I’m really happy to be back in the 2:22s, I haven’t been there since the Olympics.
“It’s good to be back down where it needs to be. I could feel the girl next to me (Canada’s Kierra Smith) coming back on the last 50. I think that’s something next season that will be a main focus of mine.
“I seem to have the front end speed but it’s holding on at the back. I think I’ve learned a lot from this and hopefully that can help me in the seasons to come.”
Those struggles in the second half of the race are unusual for Renshaw, who is traditionally a fast finisher.
And while that will be something to work on next season, it also opens up the opportunity of improved times over the shorter 100m – which she will look to do at next year’s Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast.
She added: “Going into the Commonwealths I’d like to do the 100 as well, as an event to set me up for the 200.
“It’s always nice to have more than one event in your programme. Definitely going forward I’ve proved I’ve got the front end speed, so it would be nice to show that and do good times in the 100. In previous years it has always been a struggle of mine getting out fast.
“I’ve been known for my strong back end so it’s a bit different being able to go out fast and dying at the end, but it constantly gives me things to work on and improve.”
Meanwhile there was disappointment for Rosie Rudin in the morning’s heats as she failed to hit top gear on her World Championships debut in the 200m backstroke.
The 18-year-old’s time of 2:13.27 was nearly four seconds slower than the personal best she set on the way to gold at the British trials back in April.
But while upset not to show off her best, Rudin was also keen to look at the bigger picture.
“I’m a bit disappointed with the time as it’s quite a bit off my PB, but it’s my first World Championships,” she said.
“I’ve had a great time here, I’ve learnt a lot and it’s been a good experience.”
You can help the next generation of young British swimmers by getting involved in SportsAid Week this September with five-time Paralympic champion Ellie Simmonds OBE. Find out more about how you can support the week of fun and fundraising by visiting www.sportsaid.org.uk/sportsaidweek.