Chris Walker-Hebborn ‘Looking at the Positives’ After Missing Standard


British 100 backstroke champion Chris Walker-Hebborn spoke to media after the final of the men’s 100 backstroke, and indicated that while he was ‘a little disappointed’ with failing to make the automatic qualification standard for Rio, he was ‘focusing on the positive’ instead, and believes that if given a chance, he can hit his taper and swim much better in Rio.

That chance is not guaranteed, as Walker-Hebborn’s only potential for a save is either via a British Selection ‘wild card,’ or via his necessity to complete a British medley relay that finished 4th at last year’s World Championships.

Walker-Hebborn did indicate that he’s been dealing with illness, saying he was on antibiotics two weeks ago, and believes that this could have impacted his performance.

Original 100 backstroke report:

Men’s 100 Back – FINAL

  • British Record: Liam Tancock, 52.73, 2009
  • 1st Place Standard: 52.99
  • 2% Consideration Standard: 53.46

Chris Walker-Hebborn swam 53.73 to miss both the Automatic qualifying standard and the 2% consideration standard.

Walker-Hebborn’s personal best time, a 52.88 from last year’s British Championships, would have been enough to earn him Automatic Qualification to Rio. He was well-short of that mark, however; and while he still has several avenues to qualify for Rio, this was his best event last year.

Other ways Walker-Hebborn might qualify, in order of likelihood:

  1. Walker-Hebborn is the country’s best backstroker in 2016, with the 30-year old  Liam Tancock finishing 2nd in 54.20. Great Britain’s 400 medley relay was 4th at last year’s World Championships, and the British National Team coaching staff will find a way to get the country’s best backstroker on the roster for a run at Rio.
  2. He’s one of the 6 magical saves (which would be ‘a way’ accounted for in point 1 if the relay as a whole isn’t selected on its total merit).

Walker-Hebborn doesn’t have any other entries at the meet that might earn him an invite and a ‘save’ in this 100 backstroke, but the relay implications should be enough to get him there even without hitting the consideration time.

Liam Tancock was 2nd in 54.20, followed by Xavier Mohammed in 54.47 for 3rd. American-trained Joe Patching, on a quick turnaround from the American collegiate (NCAA) Championships, was 4th in 54.98.

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So instead of being amped to qualify for the OG, getting 36-48 hours to recover, and returning to the pool hungry for Rio by the weekend with a new training cycle, CWH has to wait until the meet is over, wait for the weird selection process, and in the meantime is taking “7 [!!!] days off.” Granted this particular race seems like not his best, but he’s been their main dude in BK for a few years. And he still won the title. SMDH I’m with Hulk on the other thread. I’m all for tough standards and don’t deny that British Swimming is better off today for some tough love in recent years (esp. in Breaststroke), but this is starting… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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