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British swimmer Cassie Patten took European title at the LEN 5km Open Water Swimming Cup in London.
The 20-year-old arrived in the Capital in the early hours of this morning with team mate Keri-Anne Payne after a lengthy journey by air from Spain and then by car from Liverpool via Manchester. And an unfortunate turn of events saw the pair involved in a car accident in wet conditions on the M6.
In the dock today, Patten and Payne (both Stockport Metro) were amongst the leading swimmers for the duration of the 5km course, with Patten taking a body-length lead on the final straight. Germany's Stefanie Biller and Anna Guseva of Russia were also in the mix over the distance and just pipped Payne for a podium spot in the home sprint.
Patten touched home for gold in 62:00.72, Guseva won silver in 62:02.27, Biller took bronze in 62:03.56 and Payne was fourth in 62:03.87.
"I'm pleased with that," said Patten. "I think that's the worst preparation ever for a race. Our plane from Spain was delayed by around three hours and the weather made the driving conditions appalling. I think I might have mild whip lash from the accident.
"I'm not normally good over 5km, but before I got in that water someone reminded me I won the LEN event last year and that gave me an extra boost.
"I felt really relaxed at half way, I paced myself well and I wasn't over-anxious about not leading, which was good. I swam with Keri-Anne for a lot of the race which helped as we're not rough with each other and I'm really pleased she swam well although I'm sure she'd like to have medalled."
Having kept up with the leading pack for the first 2.5km, Britain's younger swimmers Rachel Jack and Alice McCall finished well in 7th and 11th place in 62:42.32 and 64:42.46 respectively.
And Britain's junior's were also in action at the London Regatta Centre competing in the British Swimming 3km Junior International.
The girls' event was a British affair with Aynsley Heseltine forging ahead on the final leg. The City of Sheffield youngster won gold in 39:12.28 in front of Jennifer Jackson of Wigan Best in 39.25.26 and Carnegie's Jennifer Davis in 41:19.60.