‘I’m faster than ever’, Sheffield’s Nick Grainger warns his rivals in the pool

England's Nick Grainger competes in the Men's 200m Freestyle Heats.

England's Nick Grainger competes in the Men's 200m Freestyle Heats.

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He might have only just waved goodbye to his breakthrough season but City of Sheffield swimmer Nick Grainger has bad news for his rivals – adamant he is faster than ever.

As rollercoaster years go you will be hard tasked to find one that matches Grainger’s 2014 as the news of his maiden Commonwealth Games selection was followed by spinal injuries.

Despite this though Grainger still went on to compete north of the border, reaching the 200m freestyle final where he finished eighth as well as helping England finish fourth in the 4x200m freestyle relay.

Grainger admitted he was swimming through the pain barrier in Glasgow but that didn’t stop him from making waves on his major Games bow.

And ahead of this month’s British Swimming Championships in London, the 20-year-old Grainger insists he is back to his best as he looks to take the positives out of his back issues.

“There were a lot of ups and downs for me last year that’s for sure,” he said.

“Qualifying for the Commonwealth Games was great but then I found out I have fractured my spine. That was frustrating because I had to do all the rehab and everything and it certainly affected me up in Scotland.

“But I actually think I have come out of it stronger because it showed me that I am not made of iron.

“And the injury essentially happened because I had poor core strength so in my rehab I did ten solid weeks of core work and that has made a big difference because it is so much better and it has actually made me faster already this year.

“My speed finish is so much better so hopefully that can come into play at the British Championships.”

This year’s British Championships will take place in the capital between April 14-18 at the London 2012 pool.

On offer are spots on the British team that will head to Russia this summer for the World Championships, and having got a taste of the international stage last year Grainger is keen not to miss out on a plane ticket.

“My main aim down in London is to qualify for the worlds, that’s the first step,” he added.

“I will do all I can to try and get on that plane to Russia and while it will be tough I see no reason why I shouldn’t aim high.

“The competition is so strong in the 400m freestyle, the 200m freestyle even more so, but that just spurs me on and I am really looking forward to it.”

Come and support the country’s best swimmers from 14-18 April at London Aquatics Centre. Buy your tickets now: http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/feature/british-swimming.