GB swimmers end European Championships on high note
Swimming

GB swimmers end European Championships on high note

09 August 2018 / 20:52
Great Britain's swimmers went out with a bang at the European Championships by winning seven medals in the pool as Adam Peaty won a fourth European gold in Glasgow.

The Olympic breaststroke champion played a pivotal role as the quartet of James Guy, Duncan Scott and Nicholas Pyle raced to a new championship record in the men’s 4x100m medley relay.

Ben Proud replicated his form from the 2017 world championships to become the fastest swimmer in Europe in the 50m freestyle after smashing the championship record in qualifying.

GB's swimmers finished with nine golds and 24 medals in total to match their previous best haul in Berlin 2014.

And Jack Laugher remains on target to win three European Championship gold medals after topping the podium in the 3m springboard after Matthew Dixon and Noah Williams earlier won silver.

World 4x100m relay champion Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake powered to silver in the men’s 200m final to finish in a seasons best time of 20.04s.

2013 European Indoor champion Holly Bradshaw added to the medal tally – winning bronze in the pole vault final.

Finally, Jessica Learmonth picked up a silver medal in the women’s triathlon.

After an incredible performance in the pool, Britain consolidated their spot in second on the European Championship medal table.

Seven heaven for GB swimmers

Olympic champion Adam Peaty won his 12th European title as the men's 4x100m quartet - which included Nicholas Pyle, Guy and 200m freestyle champion Duncan Scott - beat Russia to the title.
Inspired by the partisan home crowd, Peaty lauded the efforts of the team’s junior member Pyle.

Peaty said: “The crowd got going and I knew I just had to hold my ground and get it back to these guys.

“A massive shout to Nicholas who stepped up - hopefully in two years’ time he'll have the maturity and a bit more muscle."

Earlier Ben Proud became the fastest man in the pool in Europe by winning the 50m freestyle in impressive style.


The 23-year-old was delighted with the feat, saying: “I'm happy with that and to come away with the gold.

“I'm grateful to everyone who I've worked with so far and now it's all about being ready for two years' time.”

A surprise silver came through 19-year-old Imogen Clark who claimed silver in the 50m breaststroke to win her first European championship medal.

Max Litchfield also triumphed in the 400m medley to add another silver medal to Great Britain’s tally.

The Yorkshireman, who had admitted to considering giving up the sport, was rewarded for his perseverance with a hard fought second place.
He said: “There were times when I thought it was taking a while. In early January, I was considering surgery and stuff because it was not getting better over the winter.

“We went a couple of months without seeing improvements but there was never a point when I thought my career is over.

“Some people said it might be but I am going to push through anything I can to get back to where I want to be.

“I know I have years to come and whatever gets thrown at me, I am just going to push back harder to be the best.

“People say it’s over and that pushes me on. The more people tell me I can’t do something, the more I will do it.”

A flurry of bronze medals soon followed with James Guy in the 100m butterfly and Holly Hibbott in the 400m freestyle.

Georgia Davies, Siobhan-Marie O’Connor, Alys Thomas and Freya Anderson won the last bronze of the competition in the women’s 4x100m medley relay.

Laugher triple gold on the cards

Jack Laugher secured redemption from the 2016 European Championships by diving to victory in the 3m springboard.

The three-time European champion remains on course for triple gold after beating Russian reigning champion Evgenii Kuznetsov to the top of the podium.

Usually cool under pressure and undeterred by the emotion of winning, the 23-year-old was ecstatic after earning his second gold of the competition.
He said: “It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve been that emotional about winning. I wanted that one very, very badly,” he said.

“The reason I’m so emotional is because it was such a good competition between us three at the top.

“There’s still room for improvement which is great, but it was a fantastic competition and
I just happened to be the best diver and I’m just so blessed and happy with the performance.”

Britain’s fifth diving medal in three days came from 10m platform duo Noah Williams and Matthew Dixon – winning silver and gaining 3.06 points more than Armenia in third.

Fellow Olympic bronze medallist Daniel Goodfellow narrowly missed out on a medal and finished in a worthy fourth place in the 3m springboard.

History makers in track and field

Nathaneel Mitchell-Blake wasn’t satisfied despite recording a seasons best 20.04s to claim silver in the men’s 200m final.

The 4x100m relay world champion says he is continuing to strive for perfection after being pipped to the post by Turkey’s 200m world champion Ramil Guliyev.

Mitchell-Blake said: “I didn't win. I came here to win, he's world champion but it's a final and you've just got to bring it out the bag.

“I didn't win, I'm sorry guys. I love competing, I'm a sore loser and it's my first piece of senior silverware and I'll take that into consideration, but the season is not over.”

Holly Bradshaw tore up the record books by becoming the first British and Northern Irish athlete to win an outdoor medal in the women’s pole vault at a European Championships.

The Preston-born jumper leapt to 4.75m to finish in a stellar bronze.
Meanwhile, Katarina Johnson-Thompson is well positioned to win gold in the heptathlon after leading the first day of the competition.

The Commonwealth champion sits top with 4017 points, 80 points ahead of Olympic champion Nafissaatou Thiam in second, after winning the 200m event in 22.87s.

She said: “I wasn't sure what to expect at this competition or what would happen. To get pretty much a season best in each event, I'm happy with that.

“I've been in two minds about it, I've not been nervous but I was aware that the competition has got a lot stronger and I needed to up my game - but also not to be afraid of anybody because it's my own performances and I have my own strengths.

“I just hope to continue and do one event at a time.”

Zak Seddon finished fifth in the men’s 3000m steeplechase, while Adam Gemili finished in a competitive fifth place in the 200m after returning from injury earlier this year.

Learmonth’s special silver

2017 European triathlon champion Jessica Learmonth was delighted to secure Britain’s second silver medal of the day after performing impeccably in the water and on the bike.

Finishing 33 seconds behind six-time European champion Nicola Spirig, Learmonth said: “It was a really hard course and Nicola was extremely strong.
“I struggled at points, the hill was pretty brutal on the run, but I'm delighted with second," added the Commonwealth silver medallist.

“I knew I'd struggle out front on my own and Nicola was extremely strong. On the run I tried to hold her, but she was too good.

“The support I got, especially on the run, was fantastic and really helped so thank you Glasgow. They adopted me for the day.”

British Open winner Hall not feeling pressure

Finally, British Open winner Georgia Hall insisted she was not feeling the pressure as she advanced in the four-ball with partner Laura Davies.

She said: “It's been really fun. Laura has a very good sense of humour. She's really great to play with. I never feel under any pressure when I get a bad shot,” she said.

“The four of us, the caddies as well, are getting on very well.

“A lot of the tee shots are fairly simple but its important to pick the right club going to the greens because it is so firm out there, which will hopefully leave ourselves on the right side of the hole.”

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