James Hickman brought his auspicious career with the City of Leeds to an end with two National Championship titles in Manchester on Sunday, after making the decision to return to his home city to begin his preparations for next years Olympic Games.

The four-time World Short Course Champion was the eventual winner in the men’s 100m backstroke and 200m individual medley after two fiercely contested races on the final day of the ASA National Championships, taking his tally to three over the weekend. He will return to the Aquatics Centre tomorrow as a City of Manchester swimmer, with his sights firmly set on success in Athens next year.

“It’s just one year to go now and I’m back in Manchester for the final push to the Olympics,” Hickman said. “I’ve got new goals now and it’s good to get settled back here in Manchester. This is where it all started for me and I think this will be a good move. The Leeds club will always have a place in my heart. I’ve had all my best achievements as a Leeds swimmer, with World records and numerous World and European titles, so I’m really sad to be leaving but I’m delighted that I could finish on a high.”

Hickman battled with Nova’s Nathan Oxford for the 100m backstroke title, finishing in 57.11sec, and notched up his second victory of the day in the 200m medley event, clocking 2.05.48sec after a close race with the 400m champion Matthew Ferrarelli of Nova and Portsmouth’s Christopher Thompson.