Having ticked making a Commonwealth Games appearance off his bucket list, swimmer Max Litchfield has his sights set on making 2016 another year to remember in the pool.
Litchfield competed in the men’s 1500m freestyle, 400m individual medley and 4x200m freestyle relay at Glasgow 2014, including finishing just outside the medals in fourth in the latter.
This summer sees the Olympic Games take place in Rio, although while they are fast approaching on the horizon, the next big target will be putting in the performances at the British Championships, which double up as Olympic trials.
Before that however comes an outing at the BUCS Nationals in Sheffield this weekend as he represents Sheffield Hallam University.
And the 20-year-old claims the competition – which is the UK’s largest annual multi-sport event – will be a crucial step on his personal road to Rio.
“Obviously with 2016 being an Olympic year, BUCS won’t be my main focus but it will be a great way to test myself and see where I’m at,” explained Litchfield.
“It’s not actually long until Olympic trials now –it’s less than ten weeks– so it is getting pretty close.
“I’ve got BUCS and then a competition in Edinburgh which will be one of my last before I taper for the Trials.
“It’s not really about results for me at BUCS. Obviously you want to do well for your uni but it’s more about performance and making sure I am on track.”
The BUCS Nationals, which has been a building block in the careers of many professional athletes, will take place at a range of venues across the city of Sheffield between February 19 and 21.
Litchfield will be one of a number of Olympic hopefuls on show and after his success 12 months ago, he admits he is relishing a return to Pond’s Forge.
“BUCS is always a good competition, it is good fun and you do go up against some of the best swimmers around which is a great test,” he added.
“It’s nice to represent your university as well, which I don’t get to do a lot, and you can support your friends in action.
“Normally in swimming you’re just racing for yourself but at BUCS there is more on the line because it’s for your university.”