Knight focused on Olympic trials after illness prevents swim against hero Liam Tancock

ILLNESS prevented Liam Knight from competing against world champion Liam Tancock at the weekend - but the teenage star will get another chance to clash with his hero next year.

The 17-year-old, from Wisbech, was forced to pull out of the contest, which saw Great Britain stars Tancock and Joe Roebuck compete in the international pool at Corby.

But Knight has vowed to return in style in the New Year as he prepares to line up against his idols for the Olympic trials in March.

He said: “It was disappointing but I have got to think of my health, especially with a busy period coming up.

“I have competed in the same pool as Liam (Tancock) before and it is pretty special. He’s a fantastic bloke and he really is a role model for me.

“He’s one of my Twitter friends and I speak to him when I go to meets. He gave me some advice last year which was really helpful - I even gave him some!”

Knight will be one of the first swimmers to use the new �268million Olympic Aquatics Centre in London when he attends next year’s trials.

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Although not expected to make the Olympic squads, the teenage talent said the experience would be invaluable.

“It will be absolutely amazing,” he said. “I’m a bit scared to be honest!

“I’ve got a lot of training to do between now and then. I’ve got to get back to fitness, which shouldn’t take too long, and then I’ll train really hard.”

Knight is now within half a second of the 200m backstroke British record for his age group after a stunning performance at the East Region Winter Championships earlier this month.

The teenager returned with three gold, two silver and three bronze medals from the championships held in Norwich.