The British Gas Swimming Championships could not have gone any better for Archie Mitchell after he smashed his personal best and saw hero David Davies in action.
The 15-year-old had to wait until Friday, the penultimate day of competition, to experience the pool at the event, which also doubles up as the Olympic trials.
However, the Wandsworth Swimming Club star made sure it was worth the wait in the longest event at the Olympic Aquatics Centre, the 1,500m freestyle, coming home in 16 minutes 23.31 seconds, eight seconds inside his entry time and previous best.
That time placed Mitchell 35th overall out of 38, but it was his idol Davies, a double Olympic medallist, who qualified for his third Games as he finished second in Saturday’s final, behind fellow qualifier Daniel Fogg.
“I was happy with my performance, it was really good actually,” said Mitchell.
“My personal best was 16.31 so to take so much time off is brilliant. I’m pretty chuffed with how it went.
“It was my first swim there, I went there the Friday before to get used to it but it was my first race.
“It is a really smooth pool, it isn’t like any other gala because there are so many people watching and it is on television as well so I felt quite a high pressure to do well.
“It is definitely quite daunting to be walking out in front of the television cameras.
“It is completely different coming out in front of such a big crowd but it does give you such a boost, it is a case of using it to my advantage.
“I definitely want to come back next year, it is great experience because it is Olympic trials and I was never going to get in the Olympic team so yes, this is really good experience for me.
“It was great to be able to watch David Davies swim as well. He is a hero of mine.”
While Mitchell was in top form over 1,500m freestyle, fellow 15-year-old and club-mate Tim Robinson was off his best as he came home in 16.40:51 to finish 38th.
Another Wandsworth Swimming Club athlete, Kahoru Harazawa competed in six disabled events.
His best result came in the 100m breaststroke, where he finished 11th, while he was 12th in both the 100m butterfly and 200m individual medley, 14th in the 400m freestyle, 24th in the 50m freestyle and 27th in the 100m freestyle.
British Gas supports swimming at all levels and is getting the nation to show its support for Britain’s swimmers. visit facebook.com/ bgswimming.