Loughran proving doubters wrong

22 June 2012 / 09:17

Just six months ago former European junior champion Marco Loughran had quit swimming following a fall-out with his coaches in Florida, but on Thursday night he booked a place on Team GB and delivered a perfect riposte to his Facebook detractors.

The 23-year-old claimed the second berth in the 200 metres backstroke behind clear winner Chris Walker-Hebborn at the British Gas ASA National Championships in Sheffield, which double as the last chance to gain Olympic selection.

City of Cardiff teenager Ieuan Lloyd also booked an individual spot in the 200m freestyle to add to the relay berth he earned at the first trials at the Aquatics Centre in March.

Loughran enjoyed a highly successful junior career which saw him earn four medals, including 100m backstroke gold, at the 2007 European Junior Championship.

However, his time at the University of Florida, where he swam alongside the likes of Olympic champion Ryan Lochte and former 100m backstroke world champion Gemma Spofforth, ended under a cloud which saw him leave the sport for a month in December.

He returned to Britain on January 19 and started training again at Guildford City - a move that has clearly galvanised Loughran who also issued the best response to his social media critics.

Loughran said: "Ever since I've come back, I've had some people in America - random haters sending me messages on Facebook saying I couldn't do it, I'd left it too late. I got through to the final, came back and showed them what I'm made of and I'm so proud of myself now."

Thursday night also exorcised the memory of 2008 when he was beaten to the team by Commonwealth champion James Goddard who subsequently withdrew from the backstroke to concentrate on the individual medley.

Loughran is still in close contact with Lochte, the man who has eclipsed Michael Phelps over the past couple of years and texted him just before the session.

He said: "Ryan is the one who is pushing me on in a good way. They are just random American girls. I must have ignored them at a competition or signing or something. They seem to hate me but hopefully they'll love me now."