To End Another Successful European Night, Great Britain Prevails In A Thrilling Gold-medal Match
To cap off another successful night at the European Aquatics Championships in Italy, Great Britain prevailed in a thrilling battle for gold in the Mixed 4x200m Freestyle Relay.
The British team, who currently has 13 medals in total with one day of the swimming competition left, put on their third podium-topping performance at Rome’s Foro Italico Sports Complex.
Tom Dean, Matt Richards, Freya Colbert, and Freya Anderson finished in 7:28.16, beating France by 1.09 seconds.
Olympic champion Dean gave the British team a strong start, touching in 1:46.15 and handing the lead to Richards as he took over for the second leg.
Richards, a member of the gold-medal winning Men’s 4x200m Freestyle team for Team GB at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, turned in another strong swim, giving Colbert a 1.10 second lead.
Charlotte Bonnet of France was pursuing her, and with 100 meters remaining in the race, she was in last place.
As Anderson dove in, Colbert turned in a strong second half of her swim to retake the lead.
France had a slim 0.04 lead with 50 meters to go, but Anderson sprinted home to win convincingly and help his team successfully defend the title they won at the European Championships the year before.
Along with receiving gold medals for their efforts during the heats, Kieran Bird, Jacob Whittle, and Lucy Hope will all as well.
Dean said: “We feel really good.
“We wanted to return to this venue to defend our Mixed 4 x 200m title because we are the current champions.
“Racing has occupied our entire summer. We were aware of what needed to be done. We were aware that we wouldn’t be able to attack it forcefully. We were conscious of the need to maintain our grip.
“Everyone here did what they were supposed to do, which was to follow their individual race plans and have strong back ends in all of their 200s.
“Relays make it very simple to get ahead of yourself, use your energy excessively, and suffer the consequences later.
“That’s exactly what you need to do to win relay races—four flawlessly executed swims.”
Richards added: “On that Mixed 4x100m Freestyle Relay, France narrowly edged us out, and I believe there was a tiny bit of retaliation in their hearts.
“That’s all you can ask for at this point in the season, and we managed to get it. As Deano noted, everyone put on a really mature swim and a very good show.”
Harris Rebuffed The Touch
In the Women’s 100m Backstroke, Medi Harris came within 0.06 seconds of completing a golden double for Great Britain, but she fell short.
With the silver, Harris completed his first-ever international individual medal run after narrowly missing out on the gold in the tense final few meters.
She was in fifth place at the halfway point, but she had a fantastic turn and appeared to be claiming the title of European champion.
Margherita Panziera of Italy, who touched first in 59.40 and Harris in 59.46, however, delighted the home crowd.
In A Sprint, Hopkin Came In Seventh
Anna Hopkin finished seventh in the quick Women’s 50m Freestyle final to cap off a busy season.
In the splash and dash race, Hopkin responded most quickly out of the blocks and appeared to be in medal contention.
Hopkin finished in 24.87, though, as the field raced toward the wall.
The 26-year-old placed seventh, but was only 0.23 seconds slower than the bronze medalist, with 0.67 separating places two through seven.
Sarah Sjoestroem of Sweden won the gold in a time of 23.91, just 0.24 seconds off of her personal best for Europe.
Shanahan So Close
At the European Championships, Katie Shanahan completed her individual schedule but, in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley final, she was agonizingly outside the medals.
Shanahan qualified for the final fastest and won silver in the women’s 200-meter backstroke to win her first senior international medal.
She was in sixth place with 50 meters to go, but her valiant attempt to move up through the field fell just short.
She came in at 2:12.29, which was 0.91 seconds slower than Italy’s Sara Franceschi, who won the bronze medal.
Proud Powers Through
Ben Proud, the world’s fastest man, won the Men’s 50m Freestyle with ease to secure his spot in the championship round.
He finished in 21.40 seconds, 0.32 seconds faster than the next-fastest man in either of the semi-finals.
Proud put on another utterly impressive performance, finishing just 0.06 seconds behind the time that won him the gold medal at the Glasgow 2018 European Championships.
If he wins the final tomorrow, he will simultaneously claim the world, European, and Commonwealth titles.
Macinnes And Stephens Encourage One Another
For first place in the Women’s 200m Butterfly semifinal, Keanna Macinnes and Laura Stephens engaged in an excellent competition.
The British team that qualified second and third fastest for Wednesday night’s final, respectively, was Macinnes and Stephens, who just barely edged out each other.
When they turned for home, Stephens, a Commonwealth silver medalist, was in front after Macinnes’ lead at the 100-meter mark.
Stephens was second in 2:09.25, 0.35 seconds behind Macinnes, who took first place in 2:08.90.
Helena Rosendahl Bach of Denmark qualified first fastest in 2:08.48.
Clark Qualified For The Final In Third Place
Imogen Clark, who placed third fastest in the women’s 50-meter breaststroke qualifying, will also be vying for a medal on the final day.
With a time of 30.10, she came in second place in her semi-final behind Benedetta Pilato of Italy.
Kara Hanlon finished the second semi-final in sixth place with a time of 31.32 seconds, placing her 10th overall. She will serve as the second reserve for tomorrow’s final.
Experience That Debutants Can Learn From
On their senior international debuts, Jonathon Marshall and Jonathon Adam placed 11th and 14th in the men’s 100-meter backstroke, respectively.
Marshall came in sixth in his semifinal in 54.43, just missing his lifetime best, and Adam came in seventh in 54.76, just outside his lifetime best.