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Keegan sets juniors off to a flying start

10th July 2013

The British Gas GBR swimming team sealed their first medals on the opening day of the 2013 European Junior Swimming Championships in Poznan, Poland with Amber Keegan setting the ball rolling as she claimed silver in the Women’s 400m Individual Medley.

In a session dominated by semi-final action, Keegan showed her class to produce an exceptional breaststroke leg and pull back from sixth to second place, before holding on for her medal in the freestyle leg.

"I wasn’t sure what to expect coming in to this meet as it’s all quite new but I’m over the moon," - European Junior silver medallist Amber KeeganThe 15 year old’s breathtaking performance saw her smash through her previous personal best by six seconds, eventually touching in 4:46.83.

“I’m so happy with that swim,” said the Nova Centurion swimmer. “I wasn’t sure what to expect coming in to this meet as it’s all quite new but I’m over the moon.

“This is my first European Junior Championships so to win a silver medal is great.”

In a tantalisingly close race with Czech swimmer Jan Micka, Matthew Johnson pushed himself to the limit in the 400m Freestyle final to secure the second silver medal of the evening for the British Gas GBR Swimming Team.

"I had a good back end in that race and that will help going forward to my next three races this week," - European Junior silver medallist Matthew JohnsonThe City of Sheffield swimmer powered home down the final 50m, holding off strong competition from Italy’s Andrea Mitchell D’Arrigo to clock a time of 3:51.11.

“I’m quite happy with swim,” said the 18 year old. “I went a 3:49 at the World trials last month but it was always going to be difficult to hold my taper for two weeks, so a medal was the main goal tonight.

“I had a good back end in that race, so that will help me going forward to my next three races this week.

“I’ve had a great block of training this year; I can really feel it paying off and none of that would have been possible without the support and funding I receive from UK Sport.”

Doncaster Dartes’s Max Litchfield bettered his personal best time from the morning heats to secure fifth place in the same final, finishing in a time of 3:52.10.

In a display of guts and determination, Britain’s girls took to the pool in the 4x100m Freestyle relay where they claimed bronze in 3:46.89, clinching Britain’s third medal of the evening.

The relay of Harriet Cooper (56.44), Linda Shaw (57.66), Lucy Hope (56.78) and Katie Latham (56.01), who were touched out by Russia and Germany, formed a formidable quartet despite three of the four swimmers having just raced in their own semi-final events.

Britain’s Mark Szaranek also took to the water in the semi-final of the Men’s 50m Butterfly - his first of three events in the competition.

In a closely contested race, Szaranek (24.92) claimed fifth place in his heat and 12th overall in a time just shy of the personal best he set in the heats this morning, where he dipped under the 25 mark in a time of 24.84.

Emma Day (Guildford City) put on an impressive show in heat one of the 200m Butterfly semi-finals, dominating the race and touching first ahead of Germany’s Lisa Katharina Hoepink.

Her time of 2:13.39 was over half a second quicker than the personal best she set in the morning heats and sees her through to tomorrow’s final in second place, positioning her at the centre of the spearhead in lane five.

Blackpool Aquatic swimmer Shauntelle Austin clocked 2:16.46 to earn her ninth place into the same final.

Britain’s Harry Ackland fought off stiff competition in the Men’s 200m Breaststroke semi-final to qualify through sixth into tomorrow’s final, sealing his spot in a time of 2:17.13.

British sprint duo of Harriet Cooper (56.59) and Katie Latham (56.95) produced solid semi-final performances to qualify through to the final of the Women’s 100m Freestyle, placing them in seventh and tenth place respectively.

The British pairs kept coming with Megan Briggs and Lucy Hope performing next in the 200m Backstroke semi-final.

Despite swimming just off the new Scottish junior record 2:14.32 she swam in this morning’s heats, Briggs looked strong in her semi-final touching in 2:15.08 to qualify fourth into the final.

Hope clocked 2:16.51 and also sealed her spot in tomorrow’s showdown, posting the eighth fastest time.

Finally, backstroker Nathan Theodoris put in a powerful performance in his 100m semi-final, coming through to place sixth against a very strong field in his heat and qualifying for the final in a new personal best time of 56.54.

We've had an excellent first day here in Poland.

“We’ve had an excellent first day here in Poland,” said Mark Perry, 2013 European Junior Team Leader.

“Not only did our swimmers deliver in the morning heats, producing nine personal best times, one season’s best time and a new Scottish Junior record, they were able to step it up once more in the final’s session tonight.

“We have medalled in every final tonight, and eight of our nine semi-finalists have qualified through to their respective finals. Our job now is to continue with the same momentum and professionalism throughout the remaining four days of competition.

“Tonight has been a fantastic start and we are confident there is plenty more to come.”

  • Click here for full results from the official website.
European Champs 2016