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Silver service for Brits on opening day in Antwerp

4th July 2012

The Brits enjoyed a flying start to the first day at the 2012 European Junior Championships in Antwerp with personal bests being smashed time and time again and five of the British swimmers coming away with a medal.

The first major success saw Sheffield’s Matthew Johnson take the silver in the 400m Freestyle with an impressive personal best of 3:51.04.

I'm over moon to start the week with a silver - it's got to be up there with one of the best.

Millfield’s James Guy followed in with another PB of 3:51.84 to take the bronze. Italy’s Gabriele Detti took the gold with a time of 3:49.67.

Johnson, who took three seconds off his PB in the final, said: “I’m over the moon, to kick start the week with a silver medal, it’s got to be up there with one of the best.

"I'm really pleased with my time, I just kept thinking about getting to the end and that was what was driving me on.”

Guy, who smashed his PB in both the semi and final, knocking off a dramatic six seconds, said: “I’m feeling incredible - to go up and get my medal was just incredible.

"Seeing Johnson in lane one just ahead of me was spurring me on, as well as the support from my family who tell me to keep going. I’ve got nothing to lose but give it my all and that’s what I want to keep doing.”

Benjamin Proud won 50m Butterfly silver with a PB of 24.11, touching just behind Croatia’s Mihael Vukic (23.96).  The Plymouth Leander swimmer said: “I was just focusing on my time and it’s paid off.  To get a new PB and a silver at the European Juniors is just a fantastic achievement and being cheered on by my team really made the difference.”

The girls also gave leading performances with Sophie Taylor the first to medal in the 50m Breaststroke, coming in at 31.76 to take the silver, just behind Germany’s Margarethe Hummel (31.55).

Leeds swimmer Taylor said: “I just kept focusing on keeping my position. I’m feeling really good and coming away with a silver medal has given me confidence for my swim tomorrow.”

Chloe Tutton secured bronze in the 400m Individual Medley. Russia’s Lulila Larina (4:44.70) and Spain’s Maria Vilas Vidal (4:45.48) took the two top spots.

I thought I don't want to lose and that gave me the drive to push forward with everything I've got.

The Cardiff swimmer was lying eighth through the first half of the race but stormed back in the final 200m to set a PB of 4:48.47 and said: “I saw eighth and thought I don’t want to lose and that gave me the drive to push forward with everything I’ve got. I can’t believe my time, it’s fast!

"I’ve more swims this week and this has given me the boost I needed so I’m really pleased to end the first day with a medal.”

The semi finals were just as impressive with eight swimmers securing their spots in tomorrow night's finals.

More personal bests were in order in the girls 100m Freestyle with Amelia Maughan (55.92) and Grace Vertigans (56.08) taking the second and third spots respectively.

Ross Murdoch was in great form as he took the first place in the 200m Breaststroke semi finals with a PB of 2:13.62.  City of Derby’s Adam Peaty ranked fifth in 2:16.54.

The 100m Backstroke saw Joe Patching touch in at 56.24 PB to take rank fourth rank. while Sam Horrocks just missed out on a final berth, touching in 57.25 to finish 11th overall.

Two swimmers qualifying in the 200m Backstroke were Charlotte McKenzie at 2:15.40 and Isabelle Hindley with a new PB of 2:15.89.

Mark Perry, British Swimming Development Coach, was pleased with the first day of competition.

“Today was a fantastic start for the team," said Perry. "There were some outstanding individual swims and on the whole, there was a good block of impressive performances.

"Matt Johnson and James Guy made an impressive effort for the team and there was a really gutsy race from Chloe Tutton. I’m looking forward to another good day tomorrow.”

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