World champion James Guy is relishing the possibility of facing his idol Michael Phelps as he moved one step closer to his Olympic dream with a third gold at the 2016 British Swimming Championships in Glasgow.
Guy touched the wall in 1:45.19 in the 200m freestyle final to dip under the Olympic qualifying standard for the second time this week, after making the cut in the 400m freestyle on Tuesday.
In doing so he became the only member of the British team to hit the required time on more than one occasion during the Championships, and he admits a battle with 18-time Olympic gold medallist Phelps is on the agenda should he be selected for the Rio-bound squad.
“I never thought I would go 1:45.1 so to do that at this time of the year, I’m really happy with that,” he said.
“I felt some nerves but I wanted to do that swim and absolutely smash it to pieces.
“It could be a very interesting race in Rio and hopefully I can put out my best.
“It would be nice (to spoil the Phelps fairytale). Phelps is one of my heroes, so is Ryan Lochte, I remember watching the race of the century in 2004 in Athens with Pieter van den Hoogenband, Ian Thorpe and Phelps, I think I was nine.
“So to be racing against him would be an absolute honour.”
With the Olympic team set to be announced on Thursday, Siobhan-Marie O’Connor boosted her potential programme with a win in the 100m breaststroke final, her third gold medal of the Championships.
Unlike in her 200m individual medley final on Saturday, O’Connor failed to hit the qualifying time but will now decide her exact schedule in Rio.
She said: “It has been a tough week, of course I’m happy to be going to Rio but it has been really up and down for the team.
“I don’t really know what my ideal Olympic schedule would look like, because at other events like the Commonwealth Games I would look at doing some other events.
“But there are different challenges in Rio, for one there will be heats, semis and finals so you have to go through more rounds.
“The medley is the one I think I have the best chance of doing well in so I really want to prioritise that, but it’s about looking at what is going to work best.”
Elsewhere in Sunday’s finals, Luke Greenbank won 200m backstroke gold but fell short of the time to put him in contention for Rio.
But that hasn’t fazed the 18-year-old new British champion as he insists his eyes are firmly on the prize in Tokyo in four years’ time.
And it was gold too for Alys Thomas as she pulled off a shock win in the 100m butterfly, putting her in the frame for a spot on the 4x100m medley relay this summer.