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Willmott secures silver in Prague

8th July 2009

British Gas junior swimmer Aimee Willmott (Middlesborough) swam to the silver medal in the girl’s 400m Individual Medley on the first day of competition at the European Junior Swimming Championships in Prague.

After winning her heat this morning, Willmott went into the final with confidence and although she didn’t get off to the best start she fought back through the field to take second place.

I am pleased to have won a medal because at last year’s competition I didn’t win one and it was good to be on the podium tonight.

After the first turn she lay in sixth place but she showed her strength on the breaststroke and backstroke legs as she moved up to second place.

Ireland’s Grainne Murphy was powering through the race and held a five second lead as the swimmers turned for the final 100m.

Murphy’s lead proved too much for Willmott on the Freestyle leg and the British Gas swimmer secured the silver and the squad’s first medal with a time of 4:44.81.

“My final swim was ok,” Willmott said. “It was near my personal best but it was a hard swim and I don’t think I could have gone any faster tonight.

“I am pleased to have won a medal because at last year’s competition I didn’t win one and it was good to be on the podium tonight.

“I am slightly disappointed though because I came here hoping to win the gold medal and so it is bittersweet to have won the silver medal.”

Murphy won gold in a new European Junior record time of 4:40.88 and the bronze medal went to Stefania Pirozzi (Italy) in 4:45.37.

Willmott's team-mate Ellis Jackson swam well to take sixth place in this final. Competing at her first European Junior Championships she sealed a time of 4:52.31.

Karl Botha (Millfield) took to the water in the semi-final and final of the boy’s 50m Butterfly and he finished in sixth place in his final.

In his semi-final, Botha finished in fifth place and looked promising for the final and he got off to a good start but had to settle for sixth place after finishing in 24.76.

“I am quite pleased because it was an ok time,” Botha said. “But I did want to win bronze. I did go faster in my semi than in my final and I think it was quite unexpected that I reached the final.

“I am also competing in the 50m Freestyle and the 100m Butterfly later in the week. As preparation for the meet I have been working hard on my power and speed in training.”

The British Gas Junior relay squad put in a good performance in this morning’s heats of the boy’s 4x100m Freestyle and went into the final with the fourth fastest time.

Jak Scott (Stirling Swim) took the first leg and put the boys in third place as Hastings’ Tom Parris took over. He swam well and as he touched for his 100m the Brits remained in third place.

James Burden (City of Coventry) took the third leg and as he turned Italy held a four second lead over the field. Switzerland showed their power as they overtook the Brits. The final leg saw James Harrison (City of Leeds) swim his 100m well but couldn’t catch Switzerland and the four British boys took fifth place.

“We did feel confident going into the final after the heat swim,” Parris said. “My leg felt good and it was ok overall. We are a little bit disappointed as I think we could have gone better.”

The girl’s 1,500m Freestyle saw Jessica Thielmann finish fourth after a tough swim. The City of Newcastle swimmer performed well but finished just outside of the medals.

Thielmann lay in third position at the 1,000m mark but was overtaken with just 300m to go to the end. She took fourth place at the end of the race with a time of 16:42.49.

The gold was won by Slovakia's Tjasa Oder in 16:25.57 and Claudia Dascu Romeu (Spain) took silver in 16:31.58. Bronze was won by Grainne Murphy (Ireland) in 16:35.93.

Emma Graham progressed to the final of the girl’s 100m Freestyle after lowering her personal best twice through the heats and the semi-finals.

City of Leeds, Graham, went into the semi-final with a new personal best of 57.11 and she looked on track to lower it further after the first turn.

She touched home in a time of 57.03 to enter the final in seventh place. Her team-mate Lucy Ellis (Stirling Swim) finished in 11th place in a time of 57.47 as she missed her final place.

Georgia Hohmann (Nova Centurion) secured her place in the final of the girl’s 200m Backstroke after a good performance and touching in a time of 2:16.59. She finished in eighth place overall. Aimee Willmott took part in her second race of the night and finished in 12th place overall with a time of 2:17.57.

Of her performance Hohmann said: “I am really happy with that. I was surprised to make the final. It is my first year at European Juniors and I wanted to come and enjoy the experience and my main aim was to put in solid swims and to PB and I have done that which is great.”

Northampton’s Charlotte Bell just missed out on a final spot after finishing in ninth place in the girl’s 200m Butterfly.

Bell swam a well timed race but touched outside of her personal best in 2:16.94.

Sara Lougher (Bridgend City) finished in joint 10th place in the girl’s 50m Breaststroke with a time of 32.45.

The boy’s 100m Backstroke saw two British Gas team-mates fighting for a place in tomorrow’s final. Adam Harrington (Crawley) went into the first semi-final and touched in a time of 57.92.

Luke Wood (City of Salford) swam in the second semi-final and finished in a time of 58.11. Harrington finished in 12th place overall and Wood finished in 15th place.

The boy’s 200m Breaststroke saw Douglas Scott (East Kilbride) finish in 16th place with a time of 2:23.46.

The British Gas squad consists of:

Adam Harrington Crawley
Adam John Stockport Mo
Anthony O'Driscoll Plymouth Leander
Braxston Timm Co Sheffield
Calum Jarvis Plymouth Leander
Cameron Brodie Kelly Coll
Craig Hamilton Warrender Baths
Daniel Mills Nova Cent
David Gregory Plymouth Leander
Douglas Scott East Kilbride
Jak Scott Stirling Swim
James Burden Co Coventry
James Gibson Stockport Mo
James Harrison Co Leeds
Josh Walsh Gallica
Karl Botha Millfield
Lewis Coleman Team Ipswich
Luke Wood Co Salford
Mark Conroy Plymouth Leander
Matthew Allison Bo Stockton
Richard Butler Kingston u Hull
Roberto Pavoni Brentwood
Russell Smith Stockport Mo
Thomas Allen Swim Flint
Thomas Parris Hastings
Tsubasa Nakagawa Co Leicester

Aimee Willmott Middlesborough
Ann Morris Nova Cent.
Anne Bochmann UEA Norwich
Bethany Coggins UEA Norwich
Carmella Kitching Harrow & Weald
Catriona Bruce Bo Stockton
Charlotte Bell Northampton
Corrie Scott East Kilbride
Danielle Stirrat Co Cardiff
Eleanor Faulkner Co Sheffield
Ellis Jackson St Felix School
Emma Graham Co Leeds
Emma Saunders Horwich
Francesca Marr Hillingdon
Georgia Hohmann Nova Cent
Hannah Wardle Co Leeds
Jessica Powell Stockport Mo
Jessica Thielmann Co Newcastle
Kirsty Harkness Portsmouth NS
Laura Dawson Co Newcastle
Lucy Ellis Stirling Swim
Lucy Titchin Millfield
Mai Alland Burl Hill & Hay
Rachael Kelly Newcastle Staffs
Rachel Williams Trowbridge
Sara Hamilton South Aberdeenshire
Sara Lougher Bridgend City
Sian Morgan Co Bradford
Sophie Drake Canvey Island
Stephanie Blakeburn Billingham

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