MELKSHAM swimmer Rachel Williams is officially the best in the country after winning gold at the British Gas ASA National Championships.
Rachel, aged 19, was competing in the women’s 19 years and over category and won one gold, one silver and two bronze medals at the championships held in Sheffield.
Her gold came in the 800m freestyle where she clocked an impressive time of 8 minutes 42 seconds, beating second place by over 23 seconds. She followed this up with a silver medal and a Welsh record in the 400m individual medley, clocking a time of 4 minutes 47 seconds to finish just one second behind Bath University team-mate Anne Bochmann. Rachel’s medal haul was completed with two bronze medals thanks to third place finishes in the 100m and 200m backstroke.
The only event she did not medal in was the 100m freestyle final where she finished fifth in the final in a time of 57.29 seconds.
“I am delighted with how the championships went, I couldn’t believe it,” said Rachel. “I did much better then I expected and to come back with four medals and a Welsh record is amazing. As swimmers, we have to train so much and I am training non-stop and if I’m not in the pool, I have to be in the gym. But I am surrounded by good people like I train with Olympic silver medalist, Michael Jamieson, so that helps me improve.
“I have had a tough season so to end it on a high and in this way is great. I’ve had glandular fever and lots of little injuries, it feels like my body is falling to bits now I’m getting older!
“I felt exhausted by the end of the championships as I had 13 events in total and by the time I did the 400m individual medley I was hurting, especially as it’s the hardest event anyway.
“The support I have had from friends and family has been amazing and they are so proud, especially as they know what I have been through.
“From here I am just going to take things year-by-year, but I am focussing on the Commonwealth Games next year where I want to do my best.”