Bury swimmer James Guy curses ‘over-excited’ 200m freestyle start at Budapest world championships

James Guy was desperate to build on a glorious night for Britain in the pool in Budapest but admitted he got his tactics wrong after missing out on the medals on Tuesday.

Bidding to defend his World 200m freestyle crown at the Duna Arena in Hungary, Guy flew out of the blocks to lead at the halfway stage, but faded back into fifth, failing to match the time that had seen him qualify second-fastest from the semi-finals.

Just 24 hours on from Adam Peaty and Ben Proud claiming world titles within the space of 45 minutes, Guy and teammate Duncan Scott entered the final ranked one and two.

However both went slower than they had the previous day, with China’s Sun Yang claiming gold and the Brits missing out on the medals in fourth and fifth respectively.

According to Guy, that was down to a tactical misjudgment, as he tried to pace himself using eventual silver-medallist Townley Haas, with the Brit touching home in 1:45.36, 0.18 slower than his semi-final effort.

He said: “I think I got a little bit carried away at the start of the race. I got over-excited in the first half, I knew Townley would go out quite fast because he did yesterday but I think the guys used me instead of me using them.

“So there are definitely lessons to learned, ‘don’t go out too fast because it will hurt in the back end’.

“Based off yesterday, if I’d done it the exact same way, I felt I had more left to give on the last length, especially towards the finish. It would have been nice if I’d have gone a 1:44 so it’s very disappointing.”

Two years ago Guy and Peaty had been the stars of the show in Kazan at the Worlds, but while Peaty has gone on to establish himself as one of the sport’s biggest male stars in the post-Michael Phelps era, Guy has found it more difficult.

Underwhelming in the individual races in Rio last year – although he did claim a pair of relay silver medals – Guy was looking to put things right in Hungary.

And while he was understandably frustrated at missing out on the medals in both the 400m and 200m free, he was keen to gain some perspective, with at least two relays and the 100m butterfly still to come this week.

He added: “I know it’s there. It’s just doing it on the right day. It’s a four-year plan.

“With my roommate (Peaty) winning gold, Ben Proud winning gold, I want to be up there too. But everything happens for a reason.”

You can help the next generation of young British swimmers by getting involved in SportsAid Week this September with five-time Paralympic champion Ellie Simmonds OBE. Find out more about how you can support the week of fun and fundraising by visiting

Image courtesy of SwimSwam via YouTube, with thanks.

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