Max Litchfield reflects on mixed fortunes at Swimming World Championships in Korea
By Mark Ashenden
Last Updated: 28/08/19 10:12pm
"To say I was upset, angry and disappointed would be the understatement of the century."
Those were just a few words from Max Litchfield's brutal and honest assessment of his Swimming World Championships in South Korea at the end of July.
With less than a year to go to Tokyo 2020, the chances to shine are running out for Britain's Olympic hopefuls.
All did not go to plan for the Sky Sports Scholar but the 24-year-old from Sheffield is using the hurt to drive him to greater things...
"Heading back to South Korea after my first visit back in 2015 for the World University Games, I was targeting, as anyone would, personal bests and some fast swimming and, of course, I had one eye on the podium," Litchfield said.
"Eight days of racing later as the dust settles on an incredible meet, my memories of Gwangju are not as sweet as they were four years ago.
"Finishing seventh in the world in the 400IM and the chance to be part of a record-breaking 4x200m freestyle relay doesn't sound so bad, but I am always striving for perfection and my racing was imperfect, to say the least.
"I have given blood, sweat and tears for moments like these and for it to slip through my fingers in an instant is heartbreaking.
"Two years ago in Budapest at the World Championships, I had two of my greatest swims, narrowly missing out on the podium in the 200m and 400IM finishing fourth in both events.
"That spurred me on to do bigger and better things and this will only do more of the same.
"Although the week in South Korea will be a catalyst for greater things, you learn best in life through making mistakes.
"I will have a few weeks out the pool now for my summer break and then hit the ground running again, ready for the greatest challenge in our sport - Olympic year!
"It's the pinnacle of the sport of swimming.
"This next year will be the most important one of my career and I will do everything in my power, no matter how difficult, to make it the greatest. I will leave no stone unturned!"