Simmonds and Spofforth win European gold and silver
British Swimmers, powered by British Gas, climbed to second in the overall medal table at the European Championships in Budapest with three more medals on day two with Lizzie Simmonds leading the way with gold.
Britain celebrated a one-two finish in the final of the Women’s 200m Backstroke with Simmonds (British Gas ITC, Loughborough) edging the close rivalry she has with team mate Gemma Spofforth (Portsmouth Northsea) for the first time at a major international.
Simmonds claimed her first international title in an impressive 2:07.04, given the fact she isn’t properly rested for the event, with Spofforth taking the silver in 2:08.25 and bronze went to Duane Da Roche Marce of Spain in 2:10.46.
“That's my first major medal and I'm thrilled,” said Simmonds. “That was a big swim for me in a major final and I'm so happy.
“I felt comfortable in the heats and semis but I knew the final was going to be a tougher challenge given the quality of the field.
“On that last length I was just waiting for Gemma to attack and gave it everything to keep her off. We have a great rivalry and I've watched Gemma achieve so much but it was my turn tonight.”
World Champion Spofforth was pleased with her performance given the fact her season so far has been geared to hitting her performance pinnacle at the Commonwealth Games in October.
“Its great for Britain to have those first two steps of the podium and I'm so happy for Lizzie – she works so hard and is very talented - she deserves it,” said Spofforth.
“Personally I didn't know what to expect this week without a great deal of rest but I'll take that silver medal as that was a world class final.”
Britain’s third medal of the night, and fifth overall, was won by 50m Backstroke World Champion Liam Tancock who was added late to the final of the Men’s 100m Backstroke event.
Due to the withdrawal of Austria’s Markus Rogan, Tancock was promoted from ninth fastest after the semi-finals to the final top eight.
And Tancock (British Gas ITC, Loughborough) did not waste his opportunity as he powered to the bronze medal from an outside lane despite the fact he has been training hard with Delhi in October in mind.
Gold went to Camille Lacourt of France in a European Record time of 52.11, silver to Frenchman Jeremy Stravius in 53.44 and Tancock touched for the bronze in 53.86.
“I liked the outside lane,” said Tancock, “I've done it before from there and it was good to do it again tonight if not a little surprising.
“I'm not fully rested for this competition so to swim 53.86 is pretty pleasing. I only found out last night that I was swimming the final after Markus (Rogan) withdrew but these opportunities don't come along that often and I wanted to grab it with both hands.
“That was a truly world class swim for the gold and I'm just pleased to be up there with him in the medals. I've only had a short break leading into this meet and that means I'm not in great shape but I'll take any medal here before looking to the Commonwealths.”
Joe Roebuck (Lougborough University) put himself into the final of the Men’s 200m Individual Medley with a strong semi-final swim that sees him qualified as fifth fastest in 1:59.74.
“I'm delighted with that swim, its my first major final at a long course event and to get that time as well is a great result,” said Roebuck. “I will be looking to go faster tomorrow and see where that puts me.”
In the Women’s 100m Freestyle semi-final Fran Halsall (British Gas ITC, Loughborough) went through third fastest to tomorrow’s final in 54.16, while Amy Smith (Loughborough University) narrowly missed out in a time of 55.24.
Robbie Renwick (City of Glasgow) goes fourth fastest into tomorrow’s final of the Men’s 200m Freestyle with a time of 1:47.94. Ross Davenport (British Gas ITC, Loughborough) finished joint 10th in 1:49.04.
DIVING – British diver Rebecca Gallantree (City of Leeds) contested the Women’s 1m Springboard event in Budapest and finished 10th with a score 241.15.