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Lelliott set to defend World University Games title

He may have won gold two years ago but Jay Lelliott is not feeling the pressure as he looks to defend his World University Games title in the 400m freestyle next month. The 22-year-old, from the University of Bath, took gold and silver in Gwangju and is confident he can retain his 400m title in Taipei next month.

Jay Lelliott WUG

Held biennially in major cities across the globe the World University Games (WUGs) sees athletes come together to compete across numerous sports, with the Summer Universiade the second largest multi-sport event after the Olympics.

This year’s event will be staged in Chinese Taipei from August 19-30 with almost 10,000 participants, from over 170 countries, expected to compete. Team GBR is preparing to send its largest delegation to the Games since 2011, with over 110 athletes set to compete across 13 sports.

Lelliott, who started swimming when he was 11, cannot wait to get out there and meet up with his teammates as he prepares to take part in the second largest multisport Games in the world.

The Bath University graduate said: “I’m really excited to be going, I went in 2015, the best thing about the World University games is that you go to country that you would normally go to on holiday. You go to the them and they’re really awesome. When I went to Korea it was one of the coolest countries I have been to and the people were so friendly. I’m looking forward to it, I’m feeling in really good shape and looking forward to getting out there and competing.

“I’m the defending champion but I don’t really see it as a pressure situation, I am just going in there to do my best job, I have my own aspirations of times that I want to hit.

“I’m swimming well this season so if I do the times I want to hit that should put me in the mix for medals. I’d love to defend my title in the 400m freestyle but I’m really looking forward to getting out there and swimming the best I can really.”

After picking up a brace of medals at the competition two years ago, Lelliott is a veteran of the World University Games. And the swimmer has told new athletes to soak up the competition and enjoy the experience of representing your country. He said: “There’s a lot of new people coming on the team and I would say just enjoy it, don’t get caught up in in the whole competition aspect, just look at this as an exciting thing that you should enjoy as much as you can. You’ve done the hard work getting to the competition, you’ve put the hard work in so now it’s just executing and enjoying it all.”

Lelliott is also looking to the future and is hopeful of making the Great Britain squad for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. He added: “My long-term goal is to make the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and put my marker down there. The standard in GB is so high that making the Olympics team you’re in a great place.”

Bath University's Head of Swimming Mark Skimming is also part of the British coaching team, while physiotherapist Jack Dawkins is part of the support staff.

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