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Brits sign off from successful Euro campaign

9 July 2011

The women’s 34 point 4x100m Medley Relay team finished off competition for the British Gas GBR Disability Swimming Team at the IPC Swimming European Championships with a new world record and the 27th gold medal for the Brits in Berlin.

The quartet, which featured Heather Frederiksen, Claire Cashmore, Stephanie Millward and Louise Watkin, dominated their final to secure the new world record and their gold medal.

Frederiksen led the team off with the Backstroke and put the girls into a comfortable position ready for the second and third leg which went to Cashmore and Millward.

It was a really good way to end the meet and it looks really good for 2012.

As the race entered the final 50m Watkin had moved into the lead with her powerful Freestyle stroke and held on to take the victory for the Brits.

Watkin touched in 4:52.40 to lower the world record set by the Brits in 2009.

“It was absolutely fantastic,” Frederiksen said. “We all pulled together and swam really strong to get a fantastic result at the end of it.”

“It is absolutely excellent,” Cashmore said. “I think it will really spur the team on and a really good way to end the meet and it looks really good for 2012 where we will try to come back even stronger.”

Russia came second after touching in 5:06.82 and Spain won bronze in 5:08.70.

Susie Rodgers claimed her fifth gold and sixth medal on the final day of the Championships, winning the S7 100m Freestyle to round off a memorable international debut.

As long as I kept with everyone for the first 50, I knew I would have a good chance.

Rodgers was one of the stand-out performers for the Brits as they secured second on the medal table.

The 27-year old has dominated the S7 category in Germany, winning the 100m Backstroke, 400m Freestyle and 100m Butterfly as well as helping the 34pt 4x100m Freestyle Relay quartet to gold.

And while Rodgers’ only silver came in the 50m Freestyle, she dug deep to clinch one more gold over twice the distance, touching in a British record 1:12.10.

“The turn was really crucial and I knew that it was somewhere that I could pick up some speed,” Rodgers said. “As long as I kept down and fast and with everyone for the first 50 I knew that I would have a good chance at staying ahead on the way back.

“It has been a great week. I have to go straight back into training for another meet but after that I can go out with some friends and celebrate.”

Kirsten Bruhn (Germany) won the silver in 1:12.65 and bronze went to Ani Palian (Ukraine) in 1:13.66.

Youngster Oliver Hynd rounded off his major championship debut with a comprehensive victory in the SM8 200m Individual Medley, breaking older brother Sam’s European record in the process.

I knew that if I stuck to the plan and did my best I would be fine.

In a tense final, the 16-year old powered clear in his backstroke leg before defending champion Sam closed the gap in the breaststroke leg.

But Oliver pulled clear once again in the final 50m freestyle to take gold in 2:25.75 – more than 1.5 seconds under the old European marker.

“It was a good race,” Oliver Hynd said. “I was happy with how I was able to swim it. I stuck to my race plan and the end result was good.

“There was a bit of pressure swimming in lane four but I knew that if I stuck to the plan and did my best I would be fine.”

Sam eventually touched in 2:28.03 for bronze while SB7 100m Breaststroke champion Thomas Young set a personal best 2:30.75 to finish fifth.

Jonathan Fox lifted his third individual gold medal of the Championships with victory in the S7 100m Freestyle.

I tried to cruise the first 25m and then the next 75m I just went for it.

The 20-year old broke the world record en route to both S7 400m Freestyle and 100m Backstroke gold earlier in the week and made light work of adding the 100m Freestyle title to his collection.

Having qualified in first, Fox built a 0.39 second lead at the turn before powering home to touch in a personal best 1:03.83 for the gold.

“It was pretty good,” Fox said. “I was just trying to get a good time and went and got gold and I am pretty happy. I tried to cruise the first 25m to get a feel for the water and then the next 75m I just went for it.”

Rhiannon Henry finished off her competition with gold in the women’s S13 100m Freestyle with a well-timed race.

She paced the final well and touched in second place at the turn but sat on Ukraine’s Iryna Balashova’s shoulder and went for the victory in the final 25m.

Henry won in a time of 1:00.95 and commented: “It felt like I really stuck to my race plan and finished the race strongly.

“My aim is to go under one minute, maybe not right now but come next year that is my aim definitely.”

Balashova won silver in 1:02.72 and Marta Maria Gomez Battelli (Spain) won bronze in 1:07.86.

As well as their relay gold, Millward and Cashmore collected individual medals on the final day in the S9 100m Butterfly.

Millward touched in 1:11.62 for silver while Cashmore set 1:12.07 for bronze.

Emma Hollis won her fifth medal of the Championships, ducking under three minutes for the first time to clinch SM8 200m Individual Medley silver.

The 19-year old, who won four medals at the 2009 Europeans, turned for the final 50m freestyle length in fourth but stormed home to second in 2:59.46.

SB6 100m Breaststroke silver medallist Charlotte Henshaw finished fourth in a personal best 3:03.11.

Eleanor Simmonds, who has claimed two world records this week, was touched out of her third title in the women’s S6 100m Freestyle.

Simmonds turned behind Dutch swimmer Mirjam de Koning-Peper but used her powerful leg kick to begin to catch the distance up. De Koning-Peper touched just ahead of Simmonds in 1:16.21 with the Brit securing a time of 1:16.35.

Natalie Jones followed Simmonds home to collect bronze in 1:21.54.

Anthony Stephens secured his fourth medal of the competition in the men’s S5 200m Freestyle after racing against rival Sebastian Rodriguez.

Stephens showed his strength throughout the race but Rodriguez’s lead proved just too much for the Brit in the final 50m. Stephens won silver in 2:47.44.

James Anderson won his third bronze of the Championships, touching home in 1:06.83 in the S2 50m Backstroke final.

The men’s 34 point 4x100m Medley relay won bronze in a time of 4:25.17. The team featured James Crisp, Sam Hynd, James Hollis and Jonathan Fox.

International newcomer Gemma Almond set a personal best 1:13.46 as she finished fifth in the S10 100m Butterfly.

Meanwhile, James Hollis and Rob Welbourn finished fourth and fifth respectively in the S10 100m Butterfly with Hollis touching in 1:01.06 and S10 400m Freestyle champion Welbourn in 1:01.61.

One of the youngest members of the British Gas GBR Disability Swimming Team, Hannah Russell, finished her European campaign with sixth in the women’s S12 100m Freestyle. She touched in a time of 1:04.73.

National Performance Director John Atkinson admitted the performance of his swimmers was testament to their hard work in training.

“This has been a great all round team performance,” Atkinson said. “We have achieved 27 gold medals with four of our world champions missing which is a good achievement.

“To finish the competition with a world record ahead of the Paralympics next year is promising and I have been pleased with how well our debutantes stepped up to the plate with many of them medalling. They all now need to go back to training and get the foundations of training in place ready for the Trials next year.”

 

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