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Burnell and Johnson seal final day medals

12th August 2012

The final day of the 2012 US Open in Indianapolis saw more success for the British Gas GBR Swimming Team with Jack Burnell and Matthew Johnson adding a silver and bronze to the GBR medal tally in the 800m Freestyle.

The Final Heat of the Men’s 800m Free included two Britons:  19 year-old Burnell (British Gas ITC Loughborough), who was fourth in the 1500m Free Final at the 2010 European Junior Championships, and 17 year-old Johnson (Co Sheffield), who was fifth at the 2011 World Junior Championship 800m Free Final.

I have trained well the last couple of days, and am so pleased and proud I did a good job tonight for me, for Graeme and for Kevin.

Burnell was at the front of the pack from the gun, turning in second place up to the 600m mark, when he took a slight lead over American, Ryan Freely, the fastest seeded swimmer.

Freely introduced a kick with 100m to go, and Burnell could not quite respond, with Freely taking the Gold in 8:00.55, and Burnell battling hard to win the silver medal in 8:02.33, smashing his best time by over five seconds.

Johnson was pacing his race well, turning in fourth place until the halfway mark, when he started to apply more pressure before regularly turning in third - a position he maintained over the closing stages, to collect a fantastic bronze medal in 8:06.78.

Burnell said, “It was tough to have my main event, the 1500m, on Day 1, so close after landing on Sunday evening.

"I was disappointed with my time in that opening event, and Graeme Antwhistle (Group Coach here in Indianapolis) and I discussed how to turn this around for today’s race.

"I have trained well the last couple of days, and am so pleased and proud I did a good job tonight for me, for Graeme and for Kevin (Renshaw, Burnell’s home coach at British Gas ITC Loughborough), for all of the hard work that has been put in.”

A delighted Johnson said, “That was hard! I do not train for the 800m Free, but my coach, Russ Barber, tonight just said ‘ Give it a go’.

"So I am pleased with a Bronze medal – it is a great end to the season!”

The 2010 European Junior 200m and 400m IM Champion, Sophie Smith (17), coached by Alex Dawson at Co Leicester, started off strongly over the first 100m in the Championship Final of the 200m IM, before touching seventh in 2:16.92.

Co Sheffield's Lucy Spencer (19), who was fifth in the 200m IM British Olympic Trials’ Final, was eighth in the Consolation Final of the 200m IM in 2:19.70.

In-form Warrender Baths & Florida Gators’ swimmer, Dan Wallace, the 2011 400m IM European Junior Bronze medallist, lined up in the Consolation Final of the 200m IM along with Xavier Mohammed (Co Cardiff), representing Swim Wales.

Wallace led after the fly and back, with Mohammed in second place.  A 35.43 breaststroke leg saw Mohammed take a slight lead going into the final 50m, with both swimmers then touching the wall in joint second place in 2:02.58.

For Wallace, that was an improvement on his heat swim by almost one second, while Mohammed moved up the rankings, to better his heat performance by two seconds.

In her second race of the evening, Sophie Smith finished fifth in the Consolation Final of the 50m Free in 26.05, having earlier won the swim-off, to advance to this Consolation Final, in 25.92. 

Anne Bochmann (18), representing British Gas ITC Bath, but travelling with the British Gas National Squad, finished fourth in the Bonus Final of the 200m IM in 2:17.25, improving her heat time by almost half a second.

Joining her was 16 year-old Elena Sheridan (Romford Town),who touched home in eighth in 2:19.98.

Lewis Coleman, fifth at the British Olympic Trials and coached at Co Sheffield by 2012 US Open Head Coach Russ Barber, made the most of his Bonus Final 200m IM opportunity.

The 20-year old led after the Fly; touched in second place after the Backstroke; again took the lead after the Breaststroke, but could not quite hold onto the Freestyle, finishing fifth in 2:05.52 to move up the rankings and improve his heat time by over one second.

In his first GB international, 20 year-old Kane Haggett (Derventio XL) moved up the ranking in the Bonus Final of the 50m Free, touching in second place in a time which was 0.36 quicker than his morning heats.

Head Coach, Russ Barber, said: “Congratulations to all of our medal winners and to those swimmers who set new personal best times this week.

"Credit must go to the coaches and support staff for being so professional and motivational in supporting the team all week. This has been a highly educational week for all concerned, and has been a worthwhile meet for our development swimmers of the future.”

GBR Team Leader, Ian Wilson, said: “Our young swimmers have accounted themselves well, taking six medals (1 Gold, 3 Silver and 2 Bronze); making 20 Championship-, 15 Consolation- and 15 Bonus- Finals.

"We have been made very welcome by the US Swimming hosts, and to finish as runners-up to Australia on the Combined Team Points Table (611 points to 492 points) was a great achievement.

"Our Women lifted the Female Points Trophy with 223 points to Australia’s 198 points,  and our Men finished runners-up to Australia in the Male Points Trophy, 413 to 269.”

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