Craig Benson says making Team GB is 'like a dream'

BRITISH GAS SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS 2012

Venue:
Aquatics Centre, London Olympic Park
Date:
3-10 March

Edinburgh swimmer Craig Benson was left "pretty speechless" after clinching a place in Team GB for the Olympics - while setting a new Scottish record.

Benson, 17, completed the 100m breaststroke in 1:00.47 at the Aquatics Centre in London, a fraction ahead of fellow Scot Michael Jamieson.

That was good enough for him to join race-winner and British record holder Daniel Sliwinski in Team GB.

"It just feels like a dream at the moment," said the Warrender Baths star.

Benson was 0.38 seconds behind Sliwinski but the world junior champion was stunned to discover that his own time was the best ever achieved by a Scot.

"I didn't even realise," he told BBC Scotland.

"That's a massive achievement. Fastest in Scotland ever? I never thought that would happen.

"I am pretty speechless.

"I just went for it right from the start and tried to hold on. Obviously it paid off and I made the time by three-hundredths of a second.

"I have been thinking about this for absolutely ages.

"Not a minute goes by without me thinking about it. To actually do it is just amazing."

When asked what he could achieve in the sport, Benson, who won three golds for Scotland at last year's Commonwealth Youth Games, replied: "If I keep improving, then who knows? The final? A medal?

"I am improving at such a fast rate.

"Last year at this competition I went three seconds slower than what I just did.

"I will need to sit down with my coach and plan some targets."

Benson joins fellow Scots Hannah Miley (400m medley) and Robbie Renwick (400m free) in the team to compete at the same London venue in the summer.

And he was keen to mention the influence of the team chef in his preparations.

He told Scottish Swimming: "He is great. Any food you want, he'll make it - salmon, pork chops.

"He's got a tiny cooker to work on. It has definitely made a big difference here."

His Warrender coach Laurel Bailey was delighted at the progress made by her student.

"It's amazing. He hasn't put a foot wrong for the last 18 months," she said.

"He has worked as hard or harder than any swimmer I know. He came here last year and finished ninth and today he was second.

"He loves to race. He stands up on the blocks and thinks he can beat anybody.

"We deliberately did not let him race this season, to hold him back for this meet so that he really wanted it."

BRITISH GAS SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS 2012

Coverage:
Live on BBC red button & BBC Sport website from 1825 GMT, 3-9 March; Live on BBC One from 1300-1400, 10 March; Live on 5 live sports extra from 1830, 3-10 March

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