The British Gas GBR Swimming Team won another four medals to finish the
European Junior Championships in Belgrade at the top of the medal table
for the first time in three years.
The team of 28 swimmers had the highest number of medals and the most
gold medals, to conclude a fantastic week in the pool which also saw 85
Siobhan-Marie O'Connor topped her successful week by taking her third
gold medal of the Championships winning the 200m Individual Medley, just
outside the championship record.
O'Connor said: "I wanted to break the record but it's been a long week
so I'm happy with the win. I really went for it and on the final leg I
could feel them coming back at me so I dug deep and got the win. I'm
Craig Benson of Warrender was also in fast form tonight, shaving more
time off his personal best, in the 100m Breaststroke final.
He said: "I am really happy with that. My team mate Dan has done really
well too so it's great for us and for Scottish swimmers.
"This has been the best week of my life. My aim was to get medal and I
got silver and a handful of PBs so I'm really chuffed."
In the 400m Individual Medley, Dan Wallace of Warrender took a well
deserved bronze medal after taking a whopping four seconds off the best
time he set in the heats to finish in 4.20.60 behind Maxym
Shemberyev of the Ukraine (4.16.94) and Eduardo Solaeche (4.20.36) of
"That was faster than I thought I could go. I've taken six seconds off
my entry time," said Wallace. "It was all about the time tonight - that
was my aim.
"It started to really hurt during the last 100m but I dug in and stuck
with it. I'm absolutely over the moon with my medal."
Jessica Fullalove (City of Manchester Aquatics) was also in a medal
She put in fantastic effort to take silver in the 100m Backstroke in a
new personal best.
"It was great. I went out aiming for a personal best tonight, not a
medal or a place but I knew if I did a good time, I'd do well in the
"I held my nerves and it paid off, I'm so happy."
The winner was Mie Nielsen of Denmark in 1.01.50, Fullalove touched in
1.020.75 and Lindon Munoz of Spain took bronze in 1.03.15.
Phoebe Lenderyou (City of Newcastle) just missed the medal positions,
finishing in 1.03.20 in fourth after a gutsy swim.
"I was slightly out of the race but I tried my hardest and unfortunately
just missed out."
It was also bittersweet night for European 200m Individual Medley
Champion Ieuan Lloyd, who despite breaking the 1 minute 50 barrier for
the first time, was just out of the medals in the 200m
Freestyle, finishing in fourth place in 1.49.96.
"I'm disappointed that I didn't medal but really happy to break the
barrier," said Lloyd. "That was such a close race, I was only 0.5
seconds off the winning time but I just missed out on the touch."
The race was won by Christian Scerueble of Austria in 1.49.51, silver
went to Daniel Skaaring in 1.49.56 and Pawel Werner of Poland snuck in
to take bronze in 1.49.93.
Danielle Lowe (Wirral) & Jodie Hawksworth (Derventio) qualified in the
same heats time to reach the final of the 100m Breaststoke.
Hawksworth finished in a new personal best of 1.10.94 to finish seventh.
"I'm really chuffed with that PB. I went quicker than I did semis," she
said. "I've had a great week and it's nice to finish on a high."
Lowe finished in eighth place in 1.11.81, just outside her personal
best. After her race she said: "That was really hard, as I swam two
races close together. I didn't get a personal best in the final but I
got two throughout the week so that's good."
The evening ended with two agonisingly close relay finals to close the
The 4 x 200m Freestyle girls put up a brave fight throughout their race
and despite some fast split times, just missed out on a medal. The
quartet was made up of Amelia Maughan (British Gas ITC Bath),
Fiona Donnelly (Nova Centurian), Siobhan O'Connor and Rachael Williamson
(Kingston upon Hull).
O'Connor said: "I did a personal best split time which is good for my
last race at the end of a long week.
"You can never tell between heats and finals how teams will perform but
we all went out hard and did the best we could for the team.
"I knew we'd have to go out fast," said Donnelly. "I'm gutted we didn't
medal but we'll get over it."
It was a similar story for the 4 x 100m Medley quartet. There was some
fast swimming, but Joe Patching (Plymouth Leander), Sam Van De
Schootbrugge (Nova Centurian), Craig Benson and Ieuan Lloyd just missed
out on the touch to finish in fourth place.
Joe Patching of Plymouth Leander led the team out with a fast backstroke
He said: "I'm pleased with my split time, I wanted to lead the guys out
well and put them in a strong position for the rest of the race.
Craig Benson said: "All the guys swam fast. I'm gutted to come fourth
but all the guys stepped up and swam well. We were just beaten on the
Lloyd, on the final leg said: "In lane one it's always tough. We stepped
it up tonight and swam well but unfortunately we just missed out.
Mark Perry, British Swimming Development Coach was very happy with the
"Tonight rounded off a fantastic competition and the team stuck together
on the final night," he said. "They all raised their game and helped to
consolidate our position at the top of the medal table with some
unexpected results and a great overall team performance."
"Siobhan topped off a great week with another gold medal in the 200m
Individual Medley and there were some fantastic medals from Craig
Benson, Dan Wallace and Jessica Fullalove in personal best times.
"Unfortunately there were a lot of fourth places so we need to work on
that to improve our podium hit rate next time.
"The professionalism and dedication of the British Swimming staff helped
to create a team environment to allow swimmers to do their best and
achieve this fantastic result."
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images