8:00am Monday 25th June 2012
By Scott Wilson
AIMEE Wilmott and Jemma Lowe signed off ahead of the Olympic Games in style as they were crowned national swimming champions this weekend.
The North-East duo both triumphed at the British Gas ASA National Championships in Sheffield, the last major event before the Olympics begin at the end of next month.
Middlesbrough's Wilmott was in particularly impressive form as she trounced a competitive field to win the 400m individual medley final by more than ten seconds.
Having produced the fastest heat swim of her career on Saturday morning, Wilmott returned later in the day to outclass runner-up Lucy Spencer and third-placed Kate Hutchinson in 4:38.68.
The Teessider will compete on the opening morning of the Olympics, and was determined to prove she will head to London in ideal shape.
"I've had quite a few hard sessions this week, so to do that time, I'm really chuffed," said Wilmott, whose father, Stuart, also took part in the 400m individual medley at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. "I've been getting in the pool a bit later to get used to swimming fast at ten o'clock (the time of the Olympic heats) and that's starting to pay off.
"I knew I would be tired after my morning swim so I just had to get in and give it everything. Yeah, it really hurt, but I'm really happy with the time."
Lowe, who is from Hartlepool, secured an equally comfortable victory in the final of the 200m butterfly, the event she will compete in at the Olympics.
Lowe, who reached the World Championship final last year, qualified fastest for the final and came home in 2:08.59.
She finished more than two seconds clear of silver medallist Elena Sheridan and a further one-and-half seconds ahead of third-placed Tilly Gray.
In total, seven swimmers secured an Olympic spot at this week's Championships, which represented a second opportunity to claim a place at the Games after March's first round of trials.
Chester-le-Street's Steph Proud secured her spot in the 200m backstroke on Friday night, while David Carry (400m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle relay), Antony James (100m butterfly, medley relay), Marco Loughran (200m backstroke), Siobhan-Marie O'Connor (100m breaststroke), Grant Turner (4x100m freestyle relay) and Chris Walker-Hebborn (100m backstroke, 200m backstroke) also joined Team GB.
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