MANSFIELD swimmer Charlotte Henshaw insists she’s taking nothing for granted despite striking a major psychological blow ahead of the European Championships in Berlin.
The 24-year-old grabbed 100m breaststroke gold at the BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester, seeing off a top-quality field in the process.
Henshaw touched home in 1:39.33 minutes, ahead of Paralympic gold medallist and compatriot Liz Johnson and world record holder Mallory Weggemann of the USA, who finished down in sixth.
As is habitually the case, Johnson was right on Henshaw’s tail and came home only 0.39 slower – and the Mansfield flyer insists there is no room for complacency as she sets about defending her European title in the German capital this summer.
“Obviously it was great to have Liz alongside me and I’m used to racing against her,” said Henshaw. “What is great is that I know I’m always going to be in a tough race with her so I’ve always got the competition. We push each other on and it’s a friendly rivalry.
“In Berlin I’ll be looking to go a little bit quicker once I’ve tapered down, but that was a good swim having just come off some hard training.
“My main aim there will be to defend my title, but knowing that I’ll have Liz alongside me, it’s going to be very tough. She will definitely be my main rival there and looking towards London.”
Meanwhile, fellow Mansfield swimmer Sam Hynd also topped the podium in Manchester – storming home in 4:28.99 minutes – and admitted he surprised even himself with his winning time.
“I’m absolutely gobsmacked to have done that time,” said Hynd, the 2008 Paralympic gold medallist. “I was hoping to go under 4.30 but to get a 4.28 and within a couple of seconds of my world record is amazing.
“Having done that it’s given me loads of confidence for Berlin. We’ve got three or four weeks to prepare for it now and with that time here I think I can make a real push at breaking my world record.
“That’s the quickest I’ve swum in the last 12 months so it’s a brilliant time for me.
“I led from the start which is how I like to swim my race and it’s great to do such a quick time without having anyone pushing me too much.”
BT Paralympic World Cup took place in Manchester from 23-28 May with elite international athletes competing in Swimming, Athletics and Wheelchair Basketball. Go to www.btparalympicworldcup.com for more informationTags: Charlotte Henshaw, Liz Johnson, Mallory Weggemann, paralympic, Paralympic World Cup, Paralympics, Sam Hynd, wheelchair basketball