AIMEE Willmott feels her strong showing at the European Short-Course Swimming Championships proves her winter training schedule is working.
Willmott rounded off an impressive four days of competition by posting a new personal-best time of 4:32.56 as she finished fourth in the final of the 400m individual medley yesterday.
The Teessider, who finished 11th in the 400m IM at this summer's Olympic Games, claimed her first senior medal when she finished third in the 800m freestyle final on Friday.
And having also finished in the top five of the 400m freestyle on Saturday, the 19-year-old is pleased with her post-Olympic progress.
“All the little things I've been working on in training with my coach are starting to show in the pool when I've been racing,” said Willmott, who is a member of Middlesbrough ASC. “Especially the technique and the turns.
“Obviously I'm still not up to scratch with the rest of the world, but I just need to get back in training and work on those little things and try to improve them a bit more. I need to be racing as hard as I can against some of the best people in the world.”
Yesterday's 400m IM field was certainly world class, with Briton Hannah Miley claiming the gold medal with a new European record that was some nine seconds faster than Willmott's swim.
Hungarian duo Katinka Hosszu and Zauzsanna Jakabos finished second and third – both are comfortably in the world's top ten – and while Willmott had hoped to go slightly faster, she was satisfied with her final performance of the championships.
“I'm really happy with that swim,” she said. “I would have liked to have gone a little bit faster, but I can't really complain because I went fast in the morning as well and that's two personal bests in one day.
“I tried to stick with them (the three medallists) for as long as possible with the butterfly because normally I get left behind a bit because it's not one of my strong points in the medley. I managed to hold on, but they were just a bit too strong at the end of the race.
“It was fantastic to race against the three best swimmers in the medley short-course in the world and it's just brilliant to be in the pool with them.”