James Guy has warned his rivals at next month’s European Aquatic Championships to watch out as the reigning world champion steps up his preparations for the Rio Olympics.
Guy secured his spot on the start line for the 200m and 400m freestyle in Brazil at the weekend when he dipped under the required qualifying times on his way to victories at last week’s British Championships in Glasgow.
The 20-year-old’s inclusion in the 26-strong Team GB swimming squad was then confirmed on Thursday and he will now step up his training ahead of the European Championships in London next month.
The European Championships will be taking place at the London Aquatics Centre between May 9-22 in what will be the biggest event held there since London 2012.
And although Guy missed out on the main event and has since gone on to win gold at the World Championships and Commonwealth Games, he still describes the Olympic trials at the London Aquatics Centre four years ago as his favourite experience yet.
Guy said: “The European Aquatic Championships is really important to me because it is a process meet before Rio.
“I will be trying a few things and tactics there and I hope to be on form there ahead of the big one in Rio.
“I want to race hard and it is a step towards Rio and I am going to be trying new things so watch out!
“The London Aquatics Centre is pretty sick. I had my trials for London 2012 and the atmosphere there was so good.
“The build-up was amazing and the trials was probably the best meet I had ever been to because it was so big and it was very special to me and I still think of it as my favourite meet.”
As if making your first Olympic Games was not enough, Guy is on a collision course with two of his heroes growing up, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, not to mention reigning double Olympic champion Sun Yan.
But Guy insists he will not let the occasion get to him, stressing: “The pressure is off now. When I was a young boy the dream was to compete at an Olympic Games and I have now qualified so I’m looking forward to getting out to Rio.
“Medalling is a big ask because it is the Olympic Games and such a huge event but I have been on form in the last few years and hopefully I can take that into Rio.
“I want to go there fitter than I have ever been before and as long as I get a PB then I will be happy with that and can do Team GB proud.
“The British Championships was great. It is only April and I am already fast which is great – usually I have no speed at all at this time of year – and hopefully I will become better and get faster as the year goes on.”
Tickets for the European Aquatics Championships – the biggest event to be held at the London Aquatics Centre since the 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games – from May 9-22 are now available here: www.euroaquatics2016.london
Image courtesy of British Swimming via YouTube, with thanks.