Jack Burnell wasted no time in setting his sights on a podium finish at next year’s Olympic Games after becoming the first Great Britain athlete to claim a named quota place for Rio 2016.
Burnell knew a top-ten finish in today’s 10km marathon swim at the World Championships in Kazan would secure the spot for Team GB – something he duly did after finishing fifth in a frantic finish.
Competing at his second World Championships, the 22-year-old was in the mix throughout the race but narrowly missed out on a medal after a highly physical battle for the finish line.
Victory went to America’s Jordan Wilimovsky, who sprinted clear in the final 100m, while European champion Ferry Weertman and Greece’s 2011 and 2013 world champion Spyridon Gianniotis completed the podium.
And despite failing to pick up silverware in Russia this time around Burnell – who was joined in the water by teammate Daniel Fogg who finished 14th on his fourth consecutive World Championship appearance – insists a top-three finish in Brazil next year is his ultimate aim.
“The qualification for the Olympics was the main job coming into the event but in my heart, I knew I could win it,” said Burnell.
“I didn’t get into a rhythm from the start which is really where I’ve struggled today. I found myself in great positions which I manufactured but it just didn’t flow as well as the World Cups and it felt a lot rougher.
“I know for a fact there’s a medal in me for Rio and I thought there was one in me here.
“Unfortunately that didn’t happen today but if we can get a medal in Rio, then we’ll look back on the World Championships as a stepping stone to that.
“I think my training can be improved and there is a lot more to get out of that. I’ll be doing 10 sessions rather than nine next year so I’ll go into the Olympic year as fit as I possibly can be.”
© Sportsbeat 2015