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Johnson retains 200 Fly title in Poland

12 July 2013

Matthew Johnson retained his 200m Butterfly title to claim the British Gas GBR Swimming Team’s first gold of the European Junior Swimming Championships in Poznan, Poland.

Max Litchfield, Mark Szaranek and Kathleen Dawson also won individual medals on the third day of competition before the Boys' 4x200m Freestyle quartet added a second gold for the Brits.

"They all went out pretty quick but I knew I had a strong back end so I just stuck to my race plan," - European Junior champion Matthew JohnsonIn what proved to be one of the most exciting races of the meet so far, Johnson pulled back an incredible one and a half second gap down the final length of his butterfly race, closing in on Russia’s Alexander Kudashev to claim the gold in a time of 1:58.84.

“There were some really fast guys in that final,” said the City of Sheffield swimmer. “They all went out pretty quick, but I knew I had a strong back end so I just stuck to my race plan.

“That race didn’t feel so good when I was swimming it, but when you look up at the board after and see yourself coming first you don’t really remember how much it hurt anymore.

“I’m so chuffed to get the first gold of the meet and I know the team have plenty more medals to come.”

Britain seemed to catch the golden fever with the Boys' 4x200m Freestyle relay team stealing the show in the final race of the day, touching over a body length ahead of their nearest rivals, Spain.

The team of Max Litchfield (1:50.25), Alex Dunk (1:52.55), Caleb Hughes (1:49.20) and James Guy (1:47.84) dominated the field, coming back from fifth to first on the third leg and stretching out down the final 200m for a convincing win in 7:19.84.

Guy, who will be competing in the same event at this summer’s World Championships in Barcelona, praised the whole team for the win.

“That was a great team effort there, we really pulled together and to top the podium for the second time tonight is fantastic.

“We knew the Spanish and Germans would be tough to beat but the support of the guys in the stands really got us going and helped push us on.”

“I’m really looking forward to the individual 200m now. I was really happy with my split time in that relay so I’m going to try go even better tomorrow.”

"I'm speechless! I knew I was capable of medalling but to actually do it feels amazing," - European Junior silver medallist Kathleen DawsonKathleen Dawson was on great form as she took Britain’s fifth silver of the meet so far in the Girls’ 50m Backstroke final.

In a new personal best time of 28.69, Dawson held off Germany’s Laura Riedemann to earn her place on the podium.

“I’m speechless,” said the 16 year old. “I knew I was capable of medalling here in the 50m but to actually do it feels amazing.

“My training has been going really well coming in to this meet, so hopefully I can use my speed from the 50m to swim well in the 100m tomorrow.”

Thanet swimmer Katie Latham touched in ninth place, just outside her PB in 30.07.

The British Medley boys added another two medals with silver and bronze in the 200m Individual Medley final.

Max Litchfield clocked 2:02.19 to touch ahead of team-mate Mark Szaranek (2:02.49), who lowered his personal best from the semi-finals for the bronze.

Alice Dearing smashed her previous personal best time by 22 seconds in the fastest heat of the Girls’ 1500m Freestyle, coming home in a time of 16:45.36 – moving up four places to finish fifth.

The semi finals on day three were just as impressive with four swimmers securing their spots in tomorrow night's finals.

Last night’s 200m Butterfly silver medallist Emma Day went again in the semi-final of the 100m Butterfly.

Day lowered the personal best she set in this morning’s heats to seal the first reserve spot for the final in 1:01.20.

More personal bests were in order in the Girls' 200m Freestyle semi-final with Ellena Jones (2:03.45) and Lucy Hope (2:03.94) taking the fourth and fifth spots in their heat.

Jones takes eighth place into the final while Hope was just outside the qualification standard in 11th.

Backstroker Nathan Theodoris put in an impressive semi-final performance in the Boys’ 200m Backstroke, taking the race out hard from the start, turning at the 100m in a split of 59.33.

Theodoris held on to clock a time of 2:02.57, taking him through to the final in tenth place.

The Boys' 50m Breaststroke semi-final saw Harry Ackland touch just 0.02 seconds outside his British Age Group record in time of 29.34 to take eighth place in his heat, finishing 17th overall.

2013 European Junior Team Leader, Mark Perry, said: “The team have had a great evening tonight. The swimmers really stepped up when it mattered and put in some excellent performances.

“We have managed to nearly double our medal count for the meet in just one session; I think that shows the real grit and determination of this team. They fought hard for their places and supported each other throughout.

“These guys just need to keep their focus and professionalism over the final two days and I’m sure we’ll see more good things to come.”

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