Over the last few years Jon Rudd has led Plymouth Leander and Plymouth College to great success both domestically and internationally.
On the domestic front Plymouth College won the 57th English Schools Swimming Association Relay Championships earlier this week.
Their next chance for success in international waters will come next week when they have six swimmers competing at the Short Course World Championships in Doha. Ruta Meilutyte and Mindaugas Sadauskas will be representing Lithuania, Ben Proud will be representing Great Britain, Jamilia Lunkuse and Namibian Molina Smalley will represent Uganda and Matthew Zammit will represent Malta.
“We’re very excited about going and anybody’s going to be happy about taking six athletes to a World Championships,” Rudd told the Plymouth Herald.
Meilutyte, who will be defending her championship titles in both the 50 and 100 breaststroke, heads into Doha ranked second in the world in both events behind Alia Atkinson of Jamaica. Atkinson got the best of Meilutyte at final World Cup stop in Singapore taking gold in both the 50 and 100 breaststroke.
“Ruta will be looking to defend her two titles and she will be seeking some revenge,” said Rudd.
“In the World Cup series, she’d started training a little late and she took a bit longer to get into things. She was maybe a week or 10 days behind.”
“She had the European Championships quite late and raced in Singapore and didn’t have a lot of time to have a break.”
The head to head match up between Meilutyte and Atkinson will be an exciting one to watch. Meilutyte’s best time in the 50 is a 28.89 and is a 1:02.36 in the 100. Atkinson goes in with life time bests of 28.94 and 1:02.54.
Proud had a fantastic summer winning both the 50 butterfly and freestyle at the Commonwealth Games. Rudd told the Plymouth Herald even though Proud is swimming fast the short course pool is not his favourite racing environment, “Ben’s swimming really fast right now and he will be good, although he prefers long-course events. Short-course events, which use 25-metre pools, aren’t Ben’s big thing.”
“He likes full-length (50m) pools.”
“Ben will swim fast next week, but the only question is: will it be fast enough?”
Proud holds the British record in both the long course 50 freestyle and butterfly, but his short course times don’t quite match those performances.
- 50 freestyle LCM – 21.76
- 50 freestyle SCM – 21.81
- 50 butterfly LCM – 22.93
- 50 butterfly SCM – 23.19
After his experience on the international stage over the past couple of years Rudd says that Proud feels extremely comfortable competing against the best in the world, “But he feels at home now in these (big) competitions – he walks into an environment like that and he’s at home in it.”
Rudd also told the Plymouth Herald that he has a lot of confidence that Sadauskas will swim well and that he has been a great addition to their team, “It’s great to have him (Sadauskas) with us.
“He’s a great guy and he’s an experienced swimmer.
“He’s been working with Ben, who’s faster than he is, but only slightly and it’s been great for Ben to train with someone who goes at about the same speed as he does.
“It’s my first big competition with him and I don’t know him as well as I do the others.”
“It can take a year, or maybe two, before you get in tune with a swimmer, or sometimes it can be one or two meets.
“But he’s responding to the work really well and he brings something to the group, as well as the group giving him something.”
As for the rest of his charges he feels that the competition will give them a tremendous opportunity to compete on the international stage, “I’m not being offensive to any of them when I say the chance of Mollie, Matthew and Jamila getting to any finals are rather slim. They know that already.
“But I hope they come back with something really positive from the championships and it’s another tick on the CV’s.”
No matter how the Plymouth athletes perform in Doha Rudd it won’t change their outlook on the big picture,”The results from the short-course World Championships won’t make a lot of difference about where they are with regard to Rio,” said Rudd.
“It’s more about entertainment.”