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Swimming - 26. March 2008.

RELAY TAKES GOLD IN NEW EUROPEAN RECORD TIME




Britain's relay women swept to gold on the final night of the European Championships in Eindhoven and with it added their name into the record books.

The 100m Medley quartet of Lizze Simmonds (Lincoln Vulcans), Kate Haywood (Loughborough University), Jemma Lowe (Borough of Stockton) and Fran Halsall (City of Liverpool) smashed the European Record as they overcame the best on the continent.

Britain took gold in 3:59.33 to better the previous standard of 4:01.54, set in 2002 by Germany, with Russia taking the silver in 4:00.47 and the Netherlands the bronze in 4:04.41.

"To be honest I wasn't expecting a performance like that," said Haywood. "We're absolutely thrilled. We were quick this morning after we decided just to give it a go but to get the gold and the record tonight is encouraging for the year.

"We only arrived yesterday and aren't prepared for this meet as we're all focused on trying to make the Olympic team at the British Championships next week.

"We felt we had nothing to lose and that's the way we attacked the race. A lot of those swimmers are rested for this event so to take the gold is fantastic."

All four swimmers have come through Britain's youth development pathway and can add tonight's result to their own individual medals gained at European Junior level over the past five years.

Simmonds, who won four gold medals at last year's Junior Europeans, was delighted to secure her first senior title.

"I enjoyed that so much," said Simmonds. "It was so exciting to be a part of something so successful. I enjoyed going first because I got to see such an amazing race as it developed and we came home for the gold."

"I love racing as part of a team, there's pressure on you to perform for your team mates but that's something that I enjoy and it motivates me."
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