Luke Greenbank carried on Team GB’s fine start in the pool as he edged out Russia’s Filipp Shopin to claim European Games 100m backstroke gold.
After a trio of golds on the opening day at the Baku Aquatics Centre Greenbank got his competition off to a strong start as he clocked the fastest qualifying time in the morning’s heats.
That form was carried through to the afternoon’s semi-finals as he touched in 54.65 to seal his spot in the final and established himself as the man to beat.
It was a final that saw Shopin rise to the challenge but the Russian couldn’t do enough to deny Greenbank his moment of glory – the Brit finishing in 54.76, 0.05 ahead of his rival.
And the 17-year-old admits he had to keep his wits about him as he tried to take gold in Baku and, in the process, be crowned European junior champion.
“I’ve been swimming well here, this wasn’t my preferred event but I was first after the semi finals and that gave me a confidence boost,” he said.
“It was always going to be tough and it was close going into the final and the race was very close in the last 25m.
“The semi final swim definitely gave me confidence, I was nervous going into the final I’m not going to lie but that happens with every race really.
“You just have to get past that and focus on what you have to do.
“My time was slightly slower than my time in the semi but it was still a lot faster than my old PB and the semi was my first time under 55 seconds.”
After two medals in yesterday’s relay races Team GB added another to the collection in the 4x100m freestyle mixed relay.
Duncan Scott and Martyn Walton led the quartet out of the blocks before Darcy Deakin and Georgia Coates finished the race off in 3:32.65 to take silver – gold going to a strong Russian team in 3:30.30.
And Scott was delighted to help Team GB to yet more medals in the pool and wants the squad to keep the momentum going.
“It was a close race until the end, we front loaded with two boys but then the girls held on well for a medal,” he said.
“It’s another great day for Team GB, another day another medal so we need to keep this ball rolling.”
And Luke Davies pipped teammate Charlie Attwood to bronze in the men’s 200m breaststroke final by 0.17 seconds.
The pair came through the heats and semi-finals with relative ease but were up against the rapid Russian duo of Anton Chupkov and Kirill Mordashev in the final.
In the end Chupkov stormed to victory in 2:10.85 with Mordashev 2.09 seconds behind and Davies clocking 2:13.45.
But the 18-year-old says he always knew it was going to be a tall order to steal gold and believes he learned plenty from pitting his wits against some of the best youngsters around.
“It’s fantastic to win bronze, I knew that I could get a PB and I managed to do that and it got me a medal,” said Davies.
“I knew it was going to be hard to catch him (Anton Chupkov) because I know he is fast but it was a good experience to swim next to him.
“I’ve looked at how he does the 200 breaststroke and looked at how I could change to close the gap because he’s a fantastic swimmer.
“There was a lot of pressure tonight but I wasn’t too bothered about the time because I’m coming home with a medal and that’s fantastic.”
© Sportsbeat 2015