Siobhan-Marie O’Connor was in imperious form at the British Gas International Swimming Meet in Manchester as she stormed to victory in the women’s 100m freestyle and 200m individual medley finals on Wednesday.
The Sky Academy Sports Scholar had set a personal best of 54.88 seconds to qualify for the 100m freestyle final on Tuesday evening, but that record lasted less than 24 hours as she touched home in 54.46 to take the gold medal.
O’Connor is known as a quick starter and lived up to her reputation as she flew out of the blocks to lead at the halfway stage, clocking 26.24 at 50m.
Although the rest of the field closed slightly in the final stages, the 18-year-old Bath swimmer was always in control and held on to win her first medal of the meet at her earliest possible opportunity.
O’Connor had little time to rest and reflect on her victory, however, as she was back in action in the 200m individual medley final just 20 minutes later. If it did affect her though, she didn’t let it show.
Once again the British champion made a flying start, leading after the butterfly leg and holding on to that lead to the finish. She reached the 100m mark in 1:01.62, half a second clear of Elizabath Simmonds in second and, by the end of the breaststroke length, that lead had been extended to almost two seconds.
O’Connor secured the win with a strong freestyle leg to end the race in a time of 2:10.39 - more than two seconds clear of silver medallist Hannah Miley (2:12.81).
The time was O’Connor’s fourth fastest of her career and, coupled with her PB in the 100m freestyle, she admitted she has surprised herself with the times she has been setting of late.
“I feeling pretty good after that, they were encouraging times. I’ve been surprising myself recently,” she said.
“Training has been really hard but I feel that I’ve pushed it on a lot with my programme and made a massive step up this year.”
O’Connor has the chance to add to her medal haul on Thursday morning having qualified for the 100m backstroke and 200m freestyle finals in the evening session.