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BRITISH SQUAD EXCEED EXPECTATIONS IN DEBRECEN
16th December 2007
The European Short Course championships came to a conclusion tonight in Debrecen with team GB finishing the meet with two British Records, two Scottish Records and a total of 40 personal bests.
Todd Cooper (Stirling Swimming) progressed to the semi finals of the 50m butterfly, where he finished in a time of 24.04 to finish 14th overall.
Cooper was also part of the 4x50m freestyle team who squeezed into the final in eighth place. The quartet of Owen Morgan (Godalming ASC), Todd Cooper (Stirling Swimming), Adam Brown (Hatfield SC/Offshore Centre) and Charles Turner (Ealing SC) improved on their heat time (1:28.75) to finish in seventh place with a time of 1:28.11.
Sweden took the 4x50m freestyle title in a new World Record time of 1:24.19. The squad from France were second in 1:24.98 with Germany winning bronze in 1:26.46.
With a mixture of both experienced swimmers and those making their senior team GB debut, Head Coach, Kevin Renshaw, was satisfied with the team's performance overall.
"The team were given a difficult job. They are a team selected from this year's rankings. At best we have the third ranked swimmer in the country; in other events a swimmer ranked 8th in the country has been selected.
"In terms of expectations, many thought we would struggle to get into any finals or challenge for medals, yet, not only have we reached finals, we have secured two British Records and two Scottish Records on the way.
"It is worth remembering that this is a European Short Course competition that the rest of Europe takes very seriously. Most of the athletes here are shaved and rested prior to this meet, and that is highlighted by the fact that over the past four days, seven World Records and five European Records have been broken.
"In terms of the GB squad, it was great to see some of the younger kids really lifting their performance levels and I believe we are on track for where we want to be come 2012.
"At the first team meeting I challenged them all to compete hard and be in the race. Charlotte Barnes, Emma Bird and Marco Loughran are three examples of athletes who really grasped what we asked them to do. They have taken on board all that was asked of them and have appeared fearless when racing against tough opposition.
"It was also great to see some of the more experienced swimmers coming back to form.
"It was particularly pleasing to see Katy Sexton swim so well and break the British Record in the 50m backstroke.
"To single out any one performance is very difficult, but Terri Dunning's British Record in the 200m fly would have to be up there.
"Mention should also go to Daniel Fogg and Mark McKenna who improved on their 1500m personal best times by 25 and 32 seconds respectively.
"During his time here, the National Performance Director, Michael Scott, talked about this meet as a journey.
"This meet is not the end of the journey, it is just a stop along the way and many of the team's short term focus is the Olympic Trials in April, and for those who are successful, the journey will lead them to Beijing. For others, the journey will continue until London 2012."
Overall in the competition team GB achieved two British Records, two Scottish Records and 40 PBs.
The European Short Course Championships (25m) took place in Debrecen, Hungary between 13th and 16th December 2007.
Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com
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