A PAIR of fourth placed finishes at the British Gas National Championships have taken Strensall swimmer James Wilby's career to the "next level".
The 20-year-old York City Baths Club star clocked a string of personal bests en route to the finals of the 200 metres and 100m breaststroke at Tollcross in Glasgow.
The championships double as trials for this summer's Commonwealth Games and Wilby's performances propelled him into the frame for England selection.
The Loughborough University student lopped three seconds off his PB in the 200m when he clocked two minutes 12.69 seconds to be ranked fourth after the heats.
He lowered that mark to 2-11.38 to claim fourth in the final, before repeating the feat in the 100m.
Ranked fourth again after the heats in a time of 1-02.12, he recorded a PB of 1-01.24 in the semi-finals before taking fourth place in the final with a time of 1-00.84.
In the 50m, his weakest of the three distances, Wilby notched a PB of 28.43 seconds to be ranked tenth after the heats, but he was unable to make it a final hat-trick, being ranking 12th overall after semis.
With the Commonwealth Games team due to be announced in the next 48 hours, Wilby was playing down his chances of earning a place on the roster.
"I am ranked well and I am hopeful, but I am not getting too excited about it at the moment," he said.
"The British Gas Championships were really good. I got PBs in all events.
"Last year I got to the semi-finals of the 200m and my target was to make the final. I didn't make the semis of the 100m last year.
"Going from that to this, finishing fourth in both, is fantastic. It's not quite hit me yet. I haven't really got hold of what I have managed to achieve.
"Some people say fourth is the worst place to finish because you don't get a medal, but it is a fantastic improvement on last year."
Wilby's rise has coincided with his move to Loughborough University, and he said: "I had a great foundation at York City Baths Club and I have now moved onto the next level.
"Moving to Loughborough has had a good impact, the programme there is so well developed.
"I have gone from doing six or seven sessions a week at York to nine or ten pool sessions, plus four land and gym sessions.
"You can't put the improvement down to one factor but I am now practically a part-time student, part-time swimmer. That's the way it is at Loughborough.
"I had been swimming right on my PB leading up to the championships so, from a month out, we had good expectations."