Representing the University of St Mark & St John, Plymouth’s Ben Proud was in startling form at the 2014 British Universities (BUCS) Swimming Championships in Sheffield this week. Competing over two days at the Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Proud dominated the competition in breaking three BUCS Championships records, returning to training this week with three gold medals.First up was a mind-blowing 22.27 in the 50m Freestyle, shattering the 2007 record of 22.80, taking him to number six in the world (in a 50m pool) in 2014. The record had been held by Matt Tutty of Bath up to this point.
On the second day of the meet, the 19 year-old was to continue his scintillating form with a 49.99 to win the 100m Freestyle and claim the 2009 (50.14) formerly held by Andrew Hunter of Stirling. A short time later, Proud dominated the 50m Butterfly, taking down one of the oldest records on the books, that of Todd Cooper of Stirling from 2006. Proud’s time of 23.90 was significantly inside the eight year-old former mark of 24.30; the University of St Mark & St John student and Plymouth Leander swimmer lies fourth in the current world rankings in this event.
With the Commonwealth Trials now only a matter of weeks away, the performances from the Plymouth teenager are extremely encouraging. His coach, Jon Rudd, says, ‘The University of St Mark & St John is strongly committed to supporting and helping talented swimmers with one of the most comprehensive and innovative scholarship schemes in the world of elite swimming.’
Words by Jon Rudd
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