Max Litchfield watched every ball of Ben Stokes’ miraculous Ashes hundred this summer – and now the Yorkshire swimmer wants to channel the spirit of England’s cricket star as he returns to the water in Glasgow.
An avid cricket fan, Litchfield found time amidst a hectic training schedule to head to Headingley and watch Stokes’ heroics with bat in hand in the swimmer’s home county.
Attention now turns to Litchfield himself following a remarkable summer of action – set to compete in December’s LEN European Short Course Championships.
And with the home crowd on his side, the 24-year-old expects the atmosphere at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre to be electric.
“It was an incredible summer of cricket – I was there when Ben Stokes played that amazing innings at Headingley,” said Litchfield.
“I guess the lesson you can learn from that is just never give up.
“He never gave up, the team never gave up, and all the players just had confidence he could do it.
“To the last ball, he was confident he could make those runs.
“No matter how bad it gets, no matter how tough times seem, you should always have that confidence that you can do it and make those improvements to do whatever you want to do.
“It’s going to be awesome for the short course meet in Glasgow – it’s always a great place to race and an awesome environment and atmosphere up there.
“Short course is fun, fast and you have to use skills – a smaller pool means the crowd are closer in so it creates a really great atmosphere and it will be an amazing experience.”
The precocious Litchfield is an experienced campaigner for an athlete of his age, representing Great Britain in Rio three years ago and finishing an impressive yet heart-breaking fourth in the 400m individual medley final.
He was then forced to miss the Commonwealth Games in 2018 with a shoulder injury, nevertheless going on to scoop silver in the 400m IM at the European Long Course Championships in Glasgow later that year.
But with Tokyo now on the horizon, he believes the pain of missing out in the Gold Coast makes him all the more determined to secure his seat on the plane to Japan.
“The Commonwealth Games was a horrible time for me – it was so tough,” he added.
“You never want to miss a race, but for it to be a Commonwealth Games really amplified that disappointment for me.
“Sitting here and watching it while they were all out there racing was hard to take.
“Something as disappointing and heart-breaking as that does spur you on and give you that little bit more drive that you need in this sport.
“It would be incredible to be selected for Tokyo and represent Great Britain once again – it’s the pinnacle of our sport, so if I could make a second Olympics it would be absolutely phenomenal.”
Watch Max Litchfield and Great Britain compete for European medals in Glasgow from 4-8 December. GET TICKETS HERE.