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Brodie Williams swam down Luke Greenbank on the final length to win gold in the Commonwealth 200m backstroke and then hailed his rival's influence on British swimming.
The Taunton star drafted the Olympic bronze medallist to claim a maiden major title as Greenbank led the field through 100m in 56.24.
Williams made his move on the final length, splitting 29.95 for the last 50m to come through and claim a breakout triumph.
He said: “It means a lot. I won my first senior medal in the 100m but to get gold means so much to me and my family.
“It gives me a lot of confidence. I know I can perform on this stage now and I’ll take that with me.
“This is the first time my family have watched me race since Covid, so it’s a big moment for me and the family. I was hoping for a PB but I’m just off. I’m happy I executed my race and I’m looking forward to the relay tomorrow.”
Greenbank has been British swimming’s Mr. Consistent in recent years and has barely missed a podium across Olympic, world and European Championships.
But this time he faded badly and with a 30.82 split for the final length was overtaken by Australia’s Bradley Woodward and South Africa’s Pieter Coetze, finishing fifth.
Williams, who is one of over 1,100 elite athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing them to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support, settled for silver behind Greenbank at April’s British Championships, but it would be his day in front of a packed Sandwell Aquatics Centre.
On Greenbank’s influence, Williams said: “It’s just so good we’ve great British backstrokers now, hopefully we can keep pushing each other and get the best out of each other.
“Everyone is pushing each other. He’s been the British standard for a while, so I’ve always been aiming to get close to him. Now I’m at the ability to maybe push him on and he’ll push me on. It’s a great little double act.
“I said to him at the end ‘your Olympic bronze medallist, you’ll come back stronger, and we’ll keep fighting together’.
The versatile Williams, who also swims medleys, has brought his PBs down across the board this year.
“I’ve swapped programmes this year to train with David McNulty and obviously something’s working. Credit to him and Jamie Main for getting me here.”
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