AIMEE WILLMOTT strengthened her hopes of making the British team for this year’s World Swimming Championships in South Korea as she claimed the 400m Individual Medley title at the British Championships in Glasgow.

The Teessider reclaimed the British crown as she triumphed in the final, and just as importantly, her winning time saw her sneak inside the consideration time for a place at the Worlds.

Willmott, who is based at the University of Stirling, missed out on an automatic qualifying spot, so her fate is now in the hands of the British selectors, who will decide whether she merits a place on Britain’s World Championship team.

The 26-year-old produced her trademark strong finish as she triumphed in a time of 4:39.98 and finished ahead of Abbie Wood and her long-term rival, Hannah Miley, who is continuing her comeback from injury.

“It wasn’t as quick as I was hoping for, as this time last year at Commies (Commonwealth Games) I was 4:34.9 and I knew if I could do that, I would automatically secure my place,” said Willmott, who claimed Commonwealth gold on Australia’s Gold Coast 12 months ago.

“But it’s a different environment and that was a huge event. So to sneak under the consideration time, I am pretty happy, but it was so painful.”

The highlight of the opening night of competition at the British Championship was Adam Peaty’s triumph in the 100m breaststroke final, with the Olympic champion triumphing over a strong field that also featured Ross Murdoch, Craig Benson and James Wilby.

KATE AVERY capped a fine winter cross-country season by helping Great Britain’s senior women’s team to finish fourth at the World Cross-Country Championships in Denmark.

The Shildon distance runner was the highest-placed British runner as she finished in the top-30, with her efforts helping the women’s team to claim fourth position overall and finish as the leading European nation as they came in behind Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

Avery started conservatively on the 10km course in Aarhus, but built into the contest as she began to pick off opponents from the halfway point onwards.

She was 60th after the opening lap of the 2km course, but found her stride as she moved into the top 40 at the halfway stage.

She finished strongly in the second half of the race, overtaking Jennifer Nesbitt to finish as the leading Briton, and outpaced some highly-regarded rivals to eventually finish in 30th.

“There were certain parts when I thought my legs were going to give way, but when it came to the hills, in my head I kept saying, ‘Jog, jog, jog’ and it seemed to work because others weren’t,” said Avery.

“I’m pleased with how the cross-country season has gone. I’m still not back up to what I was doing previously, so I need to get back to that level.”