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Patching reigns supreme on day four in Antwerp

7th July 2012

The British Gas GBR Swimming Team added another gold and silver medal to their tally on day four of the European Junior Swimming Championships in Antwerp.

In a session dominated by semi-final action, Joseph Patching made it count and shone in one of the few finals of the night, claiming 200m Backstroke victory on the penultimate day of competition in Belgium.

In a tantalisingly close race with Italy’s Fabio Laugeni, Patching pushed his body to the limit to secure the third gold medal of the event for the British Gas GBR Swimming Team.

I'm absolutely speechless - I've broken the two minute barrier which was my primary goal.

The Plymouth Leander swimmer’s breathtaking performance saw him smash through the two-minute barrier for the first time, touching in 1.59.45.

“I’m absolutely speechless,” said Patching. “I’ve broken the two minute barrier which was my primary goal, but my second goal was to win the gold for the team and I managed to do both.

“The Italian was coming back hard on me in the last 50m but I just thought to myself “This is my day, I’m not going to let him pass” and I swum through it.

“Now I get to stand on the podium and hear our National Anthem - I’m so happy and so relieved.”

Swim Swansea’s Nathan Theodoris placed eighth in the final, finishing in a time of 2.02.72 - a second outside his best.

In a display of guts and determination, Britain’s girls took to the pool in the 4 x 100 Medley Relay where they claimed silver in 8:08.40, clinching Britain’s second medal of the evening.

The relay of Jessica Fullalove (1.01.83), Sophie Taylor (1.09.27), Grace Vertigans (1.01.81) and Harriet Cooper (55.49), who were just touched out by Russia, formed a formidable quartet holding off Germany and producing exceptional split times in the process.

“Before the race tonight we were all a bit anxious, some of us hadn’t performed the way we wanted to in earlier races but we really picked ourselves up in the call room,” said Fullalove.

“The times we all did tonight were great, and although not all of them were PBs it’s set us up really well for tomorrow night’s finals.”

Britain’s Grace Vertigans also took to the water in the final of the 50m freestyle - her fifth event of the competition.

In a closely contested race, Vertigans (26.04) claimed fifth place in a time just shy of the personal best she set in the semis, where she dipped under the 26 mark in a time of 25.93.

Jessica Fullalove put on an impressive show in heat one of the 100m Backstroke semi-finals, dominating the race and touching first ahead of Russia’s Iuliia Larina.

Her time of 1.02.68 sees her through to tomorrow’s final in second place, positioning her at the centre of the spearhead in lane five.

Chelsea & Westminster swimmer Isabella Hindley produced a personal best performance (1.03.23) to earn her fifth place in the final.

Britain’s Sam Horrocks fought off stiff competition in the 100m Butterfly semi-final to qualify through eighth into the final, sealing his spot in a time of 54.60 - a lifetime best.

British 200m Individual Medley duo of Chloe Tutton (2.17.22) and Molly Renshaw (2.20.24) showed grit and determination on the fourth day of racing both producing solid semi-final performances.

Tutton, who won bronze earlier in the meet in the 400m Individual Medley, swam to a lifetime best earning her fifth place in the final tomorrow, with her teammate finishing just outside the qualifying top eight in 12th position.

The British pairs kept coming with James Guy and Stephen Milne performing next in the 200m Freestyle semi-final.

Despite swimming just off their personal bests, Guy and Milne looked strong in their heat and qualified for the final in sixth and eighth place respectively.

Spurred on by last night’s victory, Breaststroke star Molly Renshaw showed a steely resolve in her second semi-final, coming through to place second in her heat and qualifying for the final in a new personal best time of 1.10.40.

City of Leeds swimmer Sophie Taylor qualified in eighth place with a time of 1.11.29. However, her time of 1.10.39 from the heats this morning shows she could be a potential ‘outside smoker’ in tomorrow’s race and a real contender for the medals.

Another two Brits were added to tomorrow night’s finals line-up in the 100m Breaststroke event, with Warrender Baths’ Craig Benson and West Dunbartonshire’s Ross Murdoch comfortably claiming positions within the top eight swimmers.

Both Benson (1.02.12) and Murdoch (1.02.66) swam convincingly under the 1:03 second mark to qualify in third and fifth position respectively.

Mark Perry, British Swimming Development Coach, said: “On paper tonight was supposed to be our weakest of the meet, so to come away with a gold and silver medal is fantastic.

“I have no doubt this success will boost the athletes into what will hopefully be an equally, if not more successful final day of racing tomorrow.”

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