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Johnson and Renshaw strike gold in Antwerp

6th July 2012

Matthew Johnson and Molly Renshaw sealed the British Gas GBR Swimming Team’s first gold medals of the 2012 European Junior Swimming Championships on the third day in Antwerp.

The first medal of the evening went to City of Sheffield swimmer Johnson in the 200m Butterfly, continuing his fine form having won 400m Freestyle silver on the opening day in Belgium.

I stayed positive and managed to come through at the end - I'm over the moon.

In a nail-biting head-to-head race with Russia’s Andrey Tambovskiy, Johnson held his own down the final 50m to secure his title in a lifetime best time of 1.58.50.

“I’m over the moon," said Johnson. "Going into the final in lane seven is always difficult and you don’t usually think you have a chance of winning but I stayed positive and managed to come through at the end.

“I took it out from the beginning hoping that everyone else would tire really and it happened. I looked around and saw 1.58.50 on the board which is another new PB so I’m really happy.”

Millfield School's James Guy also set a personal best time of 2.00.33 touching in seventh place.

Britain had the taste for gold and Molly Renshaw claimed the second victory of the evening in the 200m Breaststroke.

My swim was pretty tough but I'm proud of the time and I'm happy I won.

Renshaw won bronze in the same event on her European Junior debut 12 months ago and looked at home in the pool despite a field of strong competitors.

The Derventio swimmer eventually won in 2:27.66 - nearly a second clear of Hungary's silver medallist Anna Sztankovics.

My swim was pretty tough actually,” said Renshaw. “I was expecting it to be a bit easier than that but I’m proud of the time I did and I’m happy that I won.

“I’m racing at the US Nationals in August so hopefully I can go out there and try and swim a personal best.”

Sophie Taylor (City of Leeds) also produced an outstanding swim to secure the bronze medal in a new personal best time of 2.29.55.

Having set lifetime bests in both the heat (28.08) and semi-final (28.06) of the 50m Breaststroke, Ross Murdoch (West Dunbartonshire) came through in 28.09 to clinch the silver medal in tonight’s final.

Warrender Baths Craig Benson finished just outside the medals, placing fifth in a time of 28.45.

City of Manchester's Jessica Fullalove added a fifth medal of the night with bronze in the 50m Backstroke.

In a time of 28.99, Fullalove touched out Maaike de Waard (Netherlands) to seal her spot on the podium.

Falkirk Otters swimmer Charlotte McKenzie swam just shy of the personal best she had set in the semi-final, touching eighth in a time of 29.80.

In one of the most captivating events of the competition so far, the Brits took to the pool in the Boys 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay.

The quartet of Alex Dunk, Thomas Moss, Stephen Milne and James Guy, who qualified fifth into the final, put in a heart-stopping performance finishing just 0.2 seconds outside the medals and claiming fourth place.

Meanwhile, British duo Joseph Patching (Plymouth Leander) and Nathan Theodoris (Swim Swansea) qualified through to the 200m Backstroke final in first and eighth place respectively.

Patching set a time of 2.00.22 to earn him lane four in what promises to be an exciting final tomorrow night.

British Swimming Development coach Mark Perry said: “We really rose to the occasion tonight, putting in much stronger performances on what is traditionally the toughest night of the meet.

“Matthew and Molly lead the way in what proved to be our most successful session yet. We really brought our A game and the results are a reflection of that. It’s great to add two well-deserved gold medals to the tally.”

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