IPC Swimming World Championships
12-18 August

Josef Craig ‘amazed’ by rival Jonathan Fox since London

400m freestyle S7 Paralympic Champion Josef Craig admits to being shocked by his team mate’s improvements in training, but still thinks he has what it takes to become the World Champion in Montreal. 04 Aug 2013
A picture of a man with the swimming cap in the pool

Josef Craig of a Great Britain competes in the Men’s 400m Freestyle - S7 Final at Aquatic Centre on London 2012 Paralympic Games

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“I’m feeling a lot more focused and a lot more ready to race.”

Josef Craig is feeling supremely confident ahead of the 2013 IPC Swimming Worlds, despite feeling he’ll have to pull something very special out of the bag to beat team mate Jonathan Fox and retain his dominance in 400m freestyle S7.

The 16-year-old current world record holder and world number 1. has been taken aback by the progress Fox has made since London 2012, despite being confident that the event is still his best:

“The way Jonathan Fox is training at the minute is nothing short of amazing.

“I feel like I really have to do something special, but I’m not saying I can’t. I’m really looking forward to seeing what I can do.”

On his way to Montreal, Craig has continued his blistering form in the 400m freestyle by beating his own world record with a time of 4:41.13 at the British Gas Swimming Championships in June. Fox also dipped under the world record that Craig set in London in that same race, chasing Craig all the way to the wall.

When asked if he could bring the world record down again in Montreal, Craig replied “Oh yeah, definitely.”

Fresh from two weeks at the National High Performance Centre in Manchester, Great Britain, under the expert eye of national coach Mick Massey, Craig says he is also feeling improvements in his other events and thinks he can go one step further than what he achieved in London:

“I have been working intensely on the 100m free and the 50m free as well. I’m feeling very confident about all of my events. I think I can get medal positions in all of them if I really dig deep on the day.”

Craig finished an agonising fourth in the 100m freestyle in London, missing out on a medal by just 0.70 seconds, behind bronze medallist Lantz Lamback of the USA, Australian Matthew Levy and Shiyun Pan of China who claimed gold.

Fox showed in the heats that he had the required speed to beat Craig, qualifying with a time of 1:02.47, whilst Craig posted 1:04 to get through. But the pressure didn’t get to Craig and he shaved just under two seconds off his qualifying time to touch in at 1:02.20, one place ahead of Fox in the final.

Craig said: “It’s just what happens on the day in the sprint events. You have to keep really focused and keyed into it. I’ve had times when I’ve not been really focused, in my 50m especially, and I’ve suffered for it. He [Fox] is my team mate and I wish him all the success in the world”

In London, Craig finished a disappointing seventh place over the shorter distance, behind Fox in sixth.

Joining Craig and Fox in the pool again will be Pan and Levy, no doubt themselves looking to improve on their London performances in all events. Pan picked up bronze in the 400m freestyle and he will be another swimmer Craig will have to look out for.

Craig however had an ominous message for any competitors who might be aiming to steal his number one status in Montreal at his first World Championships:

“I’m feeling a lot more focused and a lot more ready to race.”

Josef Craig will start his Worlds campaign on day 1 (12 August) in the 400m freestyle S7, continuing on day 5 (16 August) in the 100m freestyle S7 and finally on day 7 (18 August) in the 50m freestyle S7.

Jonathan Fox will be looking to continue his record-breaking form in the 100m backstroke S7 on day 4 (15 August), the event he won gold in at London 2012.

The 2013 IPC Swimming Championships will take place from 12-18 August in Montreal, Canada and feature around 500 athletes from nearly 60 countries.

You can watch the livestream of the evening sessions at ParalympicSport.TV. If you are in Great Britain, Channel 4 will be showing the competition, as well as some European Broadcast Union countries and Globo-Sport TV in Brazil.

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