SWINDON’S Grant Turner believes the British Gas International Meet will provide him with a useful measuring stick as he keeps one eye on the longer-term goal of coming through World Championship trials in June.
The inaugural event at the John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds is intended to provide swimmers with valuable race practice as the British Championships - which double as qualifiers for Barcelona 2013 - have been put back three months this year.
Turner, who will open up in the 50m freestyle tomorrow and compete in his favoured 100m freestyle on Sunday, is relishing the prospect of racing again, even if he may not be at his absolute sharpest.
“For me, Leeds will be used to see where I’m at with preparations for later in the year,” he said.
“I’m currently in heavy training and won’t be tapering and shaving for this meet. That being said, I’m still looking to race fast. For me the process of the meet is as important as the result.
“I’ve had very little race practice since the Olympics and it will be good to start racing again. Training fast is great but there is no substitute for race practice.
“It’s good to have a long course meet in Britain that we can use as part of our preparations for (World Championship) trials later in the year.
“Everyone will be in different phases of their preparations for the major this year, so I think Leeds will be used to race tough and see how progress is going.”
The former Swindon Tigershark, who turns 24 on Monday, is now working with former world 50m breaststroke champion James Gibson at Loughborough Intensive Training Centre.
Gibson took over following the exit of former mentor Ben Titley after the Olympics, and has been tasked with improving Britain’s fastest 100m freestyle swimmer of 2012 even further.
I’m currently trying some different things in my training as I’m working with a new coach,” said Turner.
“I’ve been changing a lot of technical aspects of my stroke and I’m really looking forward to seeing how it works in a race situation.”
Turner warmed up for Leeds with a fifth-placed finish in the 100m free and seventh in the 50m free at the Mediterranean International in Marseille at the weekend.
He might be the premier swimmer in Swindon at present, but with double Commonwealth medallist Jazz Carlin showing signs of a return to her brilliant best and ASA Nationals champion Tilly Gray on the way up, Turner will not have it all his own way.
The Great Britain international welcomes the strength of swimming in his home town and says cooperation between clubs is the key to furthering that success.
“Elite swimming in Swindon has always had a great reputation, all the way back to Sharron Davies and Jaime King, and for me that starts at grass roots level,” he said.
“There are many great clubs that have produced fine swimmers and hopefully this can continue.
“For me the key to progression in the sport is all the clubs in the town working together and helping each other move forward.
“There are many talented swimmers and coaches and it will be great to see how they develop over the coming years.”
KEEP UP WITH ALL THE ACTION IN LEEDS BY FOLLOWING OUR DAILY LIVEBLOG ON THE ADVERTISER WEBSITE - THURSDAY TO SUNDAY FROM 9am and 5.45pm