Hat-trick of medals to end European challenge
11 December 2011
The British Gas GBR Swimming team had the X-factor on the final day of the European Short Course Championships, adding another three medals to their tally in Sczcecin, Poland.
Jemma Lowe, Hannah Miley and Michael Jamieson were the star performers with two silvers and a bronze respectively on the night, taking the overall British tally to nine – the most at this competition since winning the same number in 2004
Lowe reached the podium for the second time of the week, adding to her 200m Butterfly silver with the same result in the 100m Butterfly.
"I was nervous before the race but getting silver in the 200m earlier definitely gave me confidence for this," - Jemma LoweThe British Gas ITC Swansea swimmer was denied gold by Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen but after touching 0.45 seconds behind and breaking her own three-year old Welsh record in 56.67, Lowe admitted her medal from earlier in the week had helped calm her nerves.
“I was nervous before the race but getting silver in the 200m earlier in the week definitely gave me confidence for this and I really enjoyed it,” said Lowe.
“I wasn’t expecting that time though – I haven’t done a best in that event for three years.
“I knew she [Ottesen] would go out fast so I just swam a controlled race for the first 75 then put my head down and went for it. The last 25m really hurt but I’m really pleased with that.”
Miley’s campaign has been another of the highlights for the British team with the Scottish swimmer picking up 200m Individual Medley bronze on day one before a surprise Scottish record en route to fifth in yesterday’s 400m Freestyle.
And the World Championship silver medallist was determined to keep momentum going into her favourite event – the 400m Individual Medley – on the final day.
Spain’s short course specialist Mireia Belmonte Garcia touched 1.51 seconds ahead of the Scot for the title but, having not tapered for the event, Miley insisted her silver medal in 4:26.06 was an ideal way to close her meet.
“It's always hard to swim on the last day but I'm so happy with that,” said Miley. “Last year I struggled to beat 2.29 so to get this time is brilliant.
“I knew if Mireia got too far away before the freestyle leg I'd have a struggle but I kept with her.
“I'm not a strong short course swimmer but that will do my long course the world of good.”
Miley’s Scottish compatriot Jamieson also had to wait until the final day for his favourite event but his patience paid off as he stormed to his first honours at senior European level in the 200m Breaststroke.
The Commonwealth silver medallist, who finished eighth in the 100m Breaststroke earlier in the week, set a personal best in the heats before breaking teammate Kris Gilchrist’s British record in the final as he touched in 2:03.77.
"I’ve been looking forward to this meet and I’ve been in really good form recently so it’s good to keep the momentum going," - Michael JamiesonHungary’s world record holder Daniel Gyurta took gold in 2:02.37 with Russia’s Vyacheslav Sinkevich winning silver in 2:03.61 but the Scot insisted he could have no complaints about his performance in Poland.
“I’m delighted with that,” said Jamieson, who trains at the British Gas ITC in Bath.
“I’ve been looking forward to this meet and I’ve been in really good form recently so it’s good to keep the momentum going.
“I felt that there was an opportunity to win a medal here. It was a hard heat swim and I knew it would have to be another best time to get a medal.”
Jamieson’s training partner Andrew Willis also impressed to make the 200m Breaststroke final, eventually finishing seventh.
The 21-year old had broken the oldest English short course record on the books in the heats, toppling double Olympic medallist Nick Gillingham’s time from 1993 with his effort of 2:06.02.
And after another fast swim of 2:06.32 in the final, Willis admitted he the national record had been one of his big targets for the meet.
“It was a tough race but good fun as well,” said Willis. “I came here wanting that record and I put most of my energy into this morning’s swim.
“I wasn’t too sure if I’d make the final but it’s been some tough racing and it’s great to get it done."
Rebecca Turner took lane four in an international final for the first time after qualifying fastest for the 200m Freestyle and proved she is capable of mixing it on the big stage by claiming a creditable fourth.
The 19-year old had competed in her first senior individual international final just two days before as she finished ninth in the 100m Freestyle.
And while she missed out on a medal over 200m by just 0.29 seconds with her personal best 1:54.84, Turner was adamant she would take only positives away from the meet.
“Someone has to come fourth and I couldn’t have done any more,” said Turner.
“I was nervous at the start but it was great to race such top swimmers.
“I'm so pleased with my times and to come fourth in a big meet like this, it's great.”
Anne Bochmann joined Turner in the 200m Freestyle final, ultimately finishing ninth in 1:57.60, after setting a personal best 1:57.32 to reach the final.
And having also finished ninth in the 400m Freestyle, the 18-year old admitted she was shocked to be swimming so fast at this early point in the season.
"If you'd have told me I was going to 1:57 before I swam, I wouldn't have believed you," - Anne Bochmann“If you’d have told me I was going to go 1:57 before I swam, I would never have believed you,” said Bochmann.
“I think my speed has come on a lot so I’m really pleased with how I’ve done. I didn’t expect to be in the final so that was a bonus.
“I’m training so hard at the moment that the back end of my races is going to suffer. Normally the 200 is a bit short for me but it’s worked well today.”
Amy Smith competed in her second individual final of the week on the last day, having won a breakthrough international medal with 100m Freestyle bronze two days previously.
The Loughborough University swimmer couldn’t quite reach the podium for the second time, ultimately finishing 0.2 seconds off bronze in sixth place with her personal best effort of 24.43.
But having clocked PBs in the heats, semis and final, Smith was adamant the competition had seen her confidence surge ahead of the important winter training stretch.
“It was a tough race – you can’t do much about 50 to be honest but it was a PB so I can’t complain,” said Smith.
“I would’ve liked to have got in the medals but that’s how it goes – everyone got a little bit faster from the semi finals so overall I’m happy with that swim.”
Antony James was the other British swimmer in individual action on the final day in Poland, finishing seventh in the 50m Butterfly.
After qualifying seventh for the final, the Commonwealth silver medallist improved his time from the semis to touch in 23.14 and admitted it was good to finish his meet with the thrill of a final.
“Coming to this meet, all I wanted to do was to practice swimming fast,” said James. “At any meet you want to get faster from heats to semis to finals so I’m happy with that.
“A lot of countries have rested for this meet but we’ve trained right through so to make the final in the 50m Fly is a real bonus and all good experience.”
James was back in the water minutes later as the men’s 4x50m Freestyle Relay quartet brought the curtain down on the British Gas GBR Swimming Team’s campaign in Poland.