Swimming: Rapid rise sees Benson’s eyes fixed firmly on London

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CRAIG BENSON has shot from relative obscurity to the verge of a senior international debut for Britain this year – but concedes it will take that and then some to reach next year’s Olympics.

Swimmer Benson, a breaststroke specialist, has climbed the podium almost at will since earning selection for July’s European Junior Championships in Belgrade, where he won silver in the 100 metres.

The Warrender flyer went one better a month later claiming world junior 100m gold as well as 50m silver in Peru before sweeping the board at the Commonwealth Youth Games.

Benson took the 50m, 100m and 200m titles as well as 4 x 100m medley relay silver, and shortly after earned selection for next month’s European Short Course Championships in Poland.

That will be the 17-year-old’s senior debut for Britain, but Benson, who benefits from the Bank of Scotland Local Heroes initiative, is well aware of the need to carry on his rapid progression if he is to qualify for the Olympics at the first trial event in March.

Benson said: “I think this will be the only Olympic Games that will be in Britain in my whole career, so I have to get on the team.”

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