Edinburgh swimmer Craig Benson (17) has had a fantastic year to date, which includes an outstanding silver medal at July’s European Junior Championships held in Belgrade. He also set a new British Age Group under-17 record in Serbia with his time of 1:02.17 for the 100m breaststroke.
“Winning the silver medal at the European juniors was an amazing experience”, says Benson, who has also qualified for the 2011 FINA World Junior Championships. “I’m competing at the World Junior Championships next week and I really want to get another medal there.”
Craig’s achievements in Belgrade have seen him named Commonwealth Games Scotland Athlete of the Month for July along with sprinter Tom Holligan. Both athletes will receive £250 towards their training and competition costs.
Congratulating the July winners, Commonwealth Games Scotland Chairman Michael Cavanagh said: “Following on from the announcement of our full team for the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games I am delighted to also reveal our latest Athlete of the Month winners. You can see from the achievements of Craig and Tom that we have selected athletes of the highest standard, and I would like to with them both the very best for the Games.”
It’s been a record breaking year for Livingston based Benson who smashed the 16 year-old British Age Group record in the 100m breaststroke at the British Championships in March. He then went on to beat it again at the Scottish Age Group Championships in April.
His times give him cause for optimism ahead of the Commonwealth Youth Games in September, but Craig knows that the competition will be fierce. “I know all of the other GB guys, and I’m the fastest at the moment”, he said. “However I don’t know a lot about the Australians, Canadians or the South Africans so it’s hard to say how it will go. I’d certainly love to win a medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games.”
Although he has been performing well in junior competition, Craig has his sights firmly set on the big prizes on offer in London and Glasgow. “One of my main goals is to make the Olympic Games next year, which I have an outside chance of doing”, says Craig. “After that I’m obviously going to be focused on Glasgow 2014 and winning medals there.”
Craig is one of 10 swimmers selected to represent Youth Team Scotland at the 2011 Isle of Man Commonwealth Youth Games.