Spofforth wins gold and Simmonds silver as Britain dominates
Britain’s Gemma Spofforth and Lizzie Simmonds traded places in delivering their second one-two of the European Championships in Budapest as they dominated the backstroke events.
And British Swimming, powered by British Gas, added a total of five medals on day four of the Championships in Hungary to take their overall tally to 12 – Hannah Miley and Liam Tancock secured their second individual medals and the Women’s 4x200m Freestyle also mounted the podium.
Spofforth (Portsmouth Northsea) was out for revenge over her close rival after Simmonds (British Gas ITC Loughborough) took the gold on Monday in the 200m event leaving Spofforth to settle for second place.
Tonight World record holder Spofforth was lying second at the 50m mark but took the lead with a superb turn. Simmonds challenged all the way but Spofforth held on to win in 59.80. Simmonds took silver in 1:00.14 and Jenny Mensing of Germany the bronze in 1:00.72
“It’s fantastic having the best two backstrokers in Europe representing Great Britain,” said Spofforth.
“As a world record holder there's always a little bit more pressure but I like to start from scratch and every time I imagine I’m starting out again.
“I felt like I had some speed tonight but knew that Lizzie was pushing me all the way and at the end I just went for the wall as hard as I could.
Simmonds said: “To get another one-two just shows how strong a backstroke nation Great Britain is although this time it was Gemma who took the gold with a great swim. I went out as hard as I could and swam my own race to win another medal.”
Tancock (British Gas ITC Loughborough) added silver to the bronze he won in the 100m Backstroke on Monday following a strong swim in the Men’s 50m Backstroke tonight.
Gold went to Frenchman Camille Lacourt in 24.07, just 0.03secs outside of Tancock's World Record of 24.04, Tancock touched in 24.70 to take the silver and bronze went to Guy Barnea of Israel in 25.04.
"If someone told me a couple of months back that I'd pick up a couple of medals without being fully ready, I'd have jumped at it," said Tancock.
"I can't wait for the Commonwealths now. It's nice to keep hold of my record but it's there to be broken and Lacourt is pushing the boundaries. When I'm fully ready to go it gives you someone to aim at."
Miley (Garioch) continued to be among the medals clinching her second and third of the Championships in the same session.
First up for Miley was the Women’s 200m Individual Medley and she won bronze, to add to her 400m IM gold on Monday. Hungarian favourite Nikita Hosszu, took the gold in a time of 2:10.09, team-mate Evelyn Verraszto won silver in 2:10.10 and Miley was third in 2:10.89.
Soon after, Miley was back in the medals once more but this time as part of the Women’s 4x200m Freestyle team. Becky Adlington (Nova Centurion) lead off the quartet, Jaz Carlin (British Gas ITC Swansea) and Miley kept Britain in touch and Jo Jackson (British Gas ITC Loughborough) anchored home and displaced Sweden for the bronze in the closing stages.
Gold went to Hungary in 7:52.49, France took the silver in 7:55.29 and Britain came home in 7:55.29.
"When we sit down and look at this result we'll see the positives, it's not the end of the world and hopefully we can stick it to them next time," said Miley.
Jackson, who anchored home her second relay to a podium finish in four days, said: “To come away with a medal makes us all really proud. It was hard tonight with two of the quartet having tough individual finals before our race.
“It’s a talented group and we showed that tonight by fighting our way through every metre to the bronze medal spot.”
Double Olympic champion Adlington struggled in he Women’s 800m Freestyle Final clocking a time of 8:27.48 to finish seventh behind gold medallist Lotte Friis of Denmark in 8:23.27, silver went to France's Ophelie Cyriell Etienne in 8:24.00 and Italy’s Federica Pellegrini was third in 8:24.99.
British record holder Simon Burnett (Windsor) just missed out on a place in the Men's 100m Freestyle final by 0.02secs as ninth fastest from the two semi-finals with 49.16. Team-mate Grant Turner (British Gas ITC Loughborough) was 0.46 further adrift.
Newly crowned Women’s 100m Freestyle champion Francesca Halsall booked her place in the 100m Butterfly Final after qualifying fourth fastest for Friday's final. She clocked 58.35 while team-mate Jemma Lowe missed out on a place when she finished 10th fastest overall.
Stacey Tadd (British Gas ITC Bath), who set a new English record in the women's 200m breaststroke heats with a time of 2:27.99 on Thursday morning and qualified for Friday's final.