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SWIMMING: Williams excels in open water debut
MELKSHAM swimmer Rachel Williams was delighted to add another string to her bow as she won a medal at her first open water event at the weekend.
The 19-year-old Common-wealth Games hopeful, who trains at the University of Bath’s Intensive Training Centre and also represents Melksham amateur swimming club, pulled off a successful open water debut as she claimed a bronze medal in the women’s 5k event at the Cyprus International Swimming Marathon in Limassol.
Williams’ victory came in the wake of her stunning performance at August’s British Gas ASA National Championships, where the Wiltshire star won four medals, setting a new Welsh record in 800m freestyle along the way.
“After my 800m time at the nationals, British Swimming contacted me to ask if I’d compete in this open water event,” said Williams.
“It was because I pulled off an even split in that 800m, meaning that my first 400m and my second 400m were exactly the same time – they looked at that as evidence that I was good at setting a pace and sticking to it.
“I’d never done anything involving the sea at all and all I’d ever done was swam in an outdoor pool.
“Luckily, in the training that I do, I usually did about 6000m in a session so I didn’t need to change anything.
“There were about 30 girls competing and you had to put a lot into checking where you were going because there were no lane ropes but I was absolutely over the moon to come in third.
“They’ve already asked me to do a 10,000m race next, which will probably be next January or February – I’m a bit apprehensive about that but I’ll give it go.
“I am wary that the Commonwealth Games are coming up next year and I want to be at my best in the pool but open water opens up so many doors for me so I’ll see what happens.”
The swimmer’s next major competition is set to be the Scottish Gas National Short Course Championships in Edinburgh in December.
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