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North-East swimmer almost breaks his own world record
PARALYMPIC champion Josef Craig almost broke his own world record as he claimed victory in the MC 400m freestyle event on the second night of the British Gas International Meet in Leeds.
Craig, who is from Jarrow and a member of South Tyneside SC, posted the second fastest time in history as he came within a second of the world-record mark he set in the final at London 2012 last summer.
The 16-year-old finished in 4:43.53 as he claimed gold ahead of Newquay's Jonathan Fox, who was more than seven seconds behind him, and Ollie Hynd, who took bronze.
“I'm really pleased with the race,” said Craig, who was the joint overall winner at last year's Northern Echo Local Heroes Awards. “That was nearly as quick as the Paralympic Games.
“I feel like I'm getting that long-course race pace back that I had before the Games. We're in heavy training at the minute and I want to stay as close to my Games times as I can so when I come to the World trials, I will be where I need to be to break world records.
“I've been doing more work in the gym and it is paying off, I can feel it in my races. My shorter distance times are coming down too.”
Middlesbrough's Aimee Willmott pushed Hannah Miley all the way in the final of the women's 400m individual medley but was eventually forced to settle for silver.
Willmott just about shaded the first half of the final, but Miley's strength in the breaststroke took her clear and she pushed through the freestyle leg to finish three seconds clear of her Teesside rival.
“I'm really happy with how that went,” said Miley. “It is faster than I went two weeks ago, which was a nice surprise. I've got a few events this week so that definitely hurt, but it is all part of the preparation for the season.”
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