Sheffield swimmer's impressive Rio Olympics debut
Competing on the opening day of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, it could have been a very long week of cheering on his teammates afterwards for Max Litchfield.
But the Sheffield swimmer ensured the next few days in Rio can be ones to savour after marking his Olympics debut with an impressive fourth-place finish in the 400m individual medley.
The 21-year-old – the first Team GB swimmer in action in Rio – was fifth fastest in the heats having clocked a personal best time of 4:11.95.
And he lowered that still in the evening’s finals session at the Olympic Aquatics Centre, touching the wall in 4:11.62 to round off an impressive outing on the world’s biggest stage.
Gold went to Japan’s Kosuke Hagino with America’s Chase Kalisz splitting the new Olympic champion from his teammate Daiya Seto in third.
Litchfield, meanwhile, was delighted to get his own team off to a strong start in the pool in Rio.
“It’s an honour to be the first guy out, it’s what everyone dreams of. To be able to go out there and swim fast and swim well is absolutely amazing,” said City of Sheffield swimmer Litchfield.
“Hopefully that can spur the guys on for the rest of the week.
“I knew those guys would go out quick, it was a matter for me of sticking to my own race plan. It was just a matter of keeping there and going with it from there.
“I always have a little bit more in a final, it just gets the adrenalin running and stuff. It felt pretty tough but it never feels easy.
“It’s fourth but I was still two seconds behind the guy who was third. To come fourth in my first Games and two personal bests is not bad at all though.”
After a long season which included winning gold at the British Championships in Glasgow back in April, Litchfield will take a well earned rest now when he returns to Britain.
In the immediate days to come, he will however be back poolside to cheer on his teammates and soak up the atmosphere.
“I’m going to be the team cheerleader for the next eight days and then see what I can get to, hopefully I can get to some good sports towards the end of the week and just enjoy myself,” he added.
“It’s a matter of getting back in September and pushing on for next season.”
* Aldi is the first Official Supermarket partner of Team GB and has been championing our nation’s extraordinary athletes on their Road to Rio and encouraging the public to tuck into fresh, affordable, Great British food. For more information visit aldi.co.uk