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Seven medal successes for Team England swimmers on impressive day two

It was a busy finals session for Team England’s swimmers as they took home seven medals on day two of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Ben Proud started the session in the best possible way as he secured the team’s first swimming gold medal in the Men’s 50m Butterfly.

Team England then went on to take a further six medals from the remaining nine finals, all of which were silver.

It makes it a strong start from the English swimmers, with a total of nine medals in the opening two days after two silvers from Wilby and the Mixed 4x100m Freestyle relay on day one.

Clark sets new British record

Imogen Clark set a new British record on her way to winning silver in the Women’s 50m Breaststroke final.

She lowered her own time of 30.04 by 0.02 to touch the wall in 30.02.

South Africa’s Lara van Niekerk was the gold medal winner in a new Games record time of 29.73.

On her performance, Clark described it as a ‘dream come true’.

She said: “It’s the best thing I think I’ve ever done and ever achieved in my whole life.

“It’s an absolute dream come true for me to medal on my home turf at a Commonwealth Games.

“It’s the biggest event I’ve ever been to and it’s the fastest I’ve ever swam so I’m buzzing.”

When asked about the atmosphere she added: “Incredible.

“It’s so loud in here and I’ve never experienced that in my life so just to finish the race and look up and hear everyone backing you, it’s just a feeling that I’ve never experienced.”

Freestyle silver for Dean

Tom Dean added Commonwealth silver to his Olympic gold in the Men’s 200m Freestyle.

The Olympic champion finished only 0.39 seconds behind Scotland’s Duncan Scott to clock in at 1:45.41.

It marks his first individual medal for Team England, an achievement he is ‘really proud of’.

Joe Litchfield also made the 20m Freestyle final, finishing in eighth place in a time of 1:48.87.

Dean said: “It’s always good to win a silver medal in an international competition like this and it is something I am really proud of.

“I want to carry that through the rest of the week.

“It’s so, so special, my first ever individual medal for Team England.”

On his relationship with Scott, he added: “The friendship comes before the rivalry.

“We are great pals in and out of the pool.

“It’s a healthy competition and it’s only going to be good for Commonwealth sport and for Great Britain when we do come together and show them what we are capable of.”

Russell reaps reward

After a successful outing at last year’s rearranged Tokyo Paralympics, Hannah Russell has now secured her first Commonwealth Games medal.

She finished in the silver medal position in the Women’s 50m Freestyle S13 final as she made her Commonwealth debut.

Russell swam a time of 27.67 – just over a second behind Australia’s Katja Dedekind, who won gold.

There was another impressive Team England performance on display in the same final, with Rebecca Redfern finishing fifth from lane two in 29.56.

Following her race, Russell said: “Having my family and close friends here supporting me with the home nations, it’s one of those experiences that doesn’t happen too often.

“Off the back of Tokyo 2020, it does give me that buzz and I’m excited because I really do get that boost from the atmosphere.”

“The Commonwealth Games, as soon as I found out there was a visual impairment classification race I turned around to all the athletes and I was absolutely ecstatic.

“So I turned my focus straight away to the 50m Freestyle after the World Championships to really target this event.”

Brodie’s backstroke brilliance

Brodie Williams set a new lifetime best in the Men’s 100m Backstroke to scoop another silver for Team England.

He was another making his Commonwealth debut and recorded a time of 53.91 in the final.

The Bath National Centre swimmer was narrowly beaten by South Africa’s Pieter Coetze (53.78) in a thrilling race to the touch.

In fifth place was England’s Luke Greenbank in 54.29.

Williams said: “I can’t really believe it, I didn’t come into this thinking that 100m backstroke was a viable option [for me].

“I’m more of a [400m individual medley racer] but I’ve got to take my chances.

“I should have done it [the 400m individual medley] this morning [but] after looking at my form in the 100 [metres backstroke] I thought, ‘why not give it a shot tonight?’ 

“And look, it paid off.

“I’m glad to get on the senior podium like that. I’m not used to this sort of stuff, needed to sort the ribbon out quite a few times.”

As for how he would be celebrating his achievement, Williams had a firm plan in mind.

He said: “Get some nice sleep ready for the 200m backstroke and tomorrow I’m going to sort out my washing. I need to sort out my colours and whites.

“I just take each day as it comes.”

Double relay success

The session concluded with two further silver medals for Team England for both the Women’s and the Men’s 4x100m Freestyle relay team.

It was the women’s up first where England’s team of Anna Hopkin, Abbie Wood, Isabella Hindley and Freya Anderson won silver.

Hopkin took on the opening leg and got England off to a lightning start as she was just behind the Australian’s after the opening 100m’s.

Wood and Hindley kept the quartet in the driving seat for the silver medal as the Australian’s stormed clear on route to victory.

Freya Anderson closed out the race for Team England as the ever impressive Canadian team attempted to close in.

Anderson swum the fastest of England’s four swimmers to hold onto the silver medal with a 53.43 anchor leg.

England’s overall time of 3:36.62 was just under six seconds behind the Australian’s who nearly broke the Commonwealth Games record in a dominant display.

Anderson said: “I’m happy with silver as I thought it was going to be a rough battle between us and Canada.

“The boys got silver as well so we will keep building this momentum and see if we can pick up any golds later in the week.
“That would be exciting.”

Hindley praised her team-mates and admitted: “It was amazing.

“I’m carried by these three women around me so it’s a pretty cool team. I’m just star-struck the whole time. 

“I’m so lucky to be surrounded by them.”

Hopkin said it was exciting times for the team as they look to the future.

She added: To get that silver, it’s an upgrade from what we got in Gold Coast four years ago so that shows that we are progressing.

“We’re looking ahead to Paris [2024 Olympic Games] as well. We have a really strong team and it’s just exciting.

“All four of us could potentially be on the team in Paris and that’s just England and there’s all the other home nations too.”

Wood was quick to hail the Sandwell crowd for the atmosphere saying: “It is so good.

“If you catch your parents in the crowd it’s so nice because we haven’t been able to race in front of a crowd and to be in front of a home Games [crowd] starting us off is really nice.”

Silver lining in nail-biting finish

In the final event of the day, it was Team England’s Men’s 4x100m Freestyle team that looked to add to the ever-growing medal tally.

The team swam quick enough to break the Commonwealth Games record but were narrowly beaten by Australia in a nail-biting finish.

After their success as part of the Mixed 4x100m team yesterday, Lewis Burras and Tom Dean opened and closed the race for Team England, with Jacob Whittle and James Guy taking up the middle two legs.

Burras shot off the blocks and was only 0.06 off the Canadian team, who led in the early stages.

Jacob Whittle then swam excellently to give England the lead at the halfway point of the race.

In his first Commonwealth Games, Whittle swam a 47.94 second leg to put England ahead of Canada as the Australians began to close.

Guy then made his first appearance of this year’s Games in the third leg and swam well despite dropping to third as the Australian’s stormed into the lead.

He handed over to Dean for the final leg, with England still in the gold medal hunt.

Despite swimming the fastest leg of anyone in the race, Dean fell just short of catching the Australian’s losing out by only 0.61.

He swam a 46.70 as Team England set an impressive time of 3:11.73 to take the silver medal.

It was his fastest relay split and he said: “I was aware of that. 

“It’s a bit of a surprise actually, my fastest relay split right after a 200 free [200m freestyle]. 

“It was two seconds quicker on what I went yesterday so a bit weird.

“Sometimes you have those swims where the energy of the crowd, the energy of the event, chasing down an Aussie with these boys behind me, it just carries me. 

“It’s something special that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to do.”

Seventh for Hibbott

Hollie Hibbott finished seventh in the Women’s 100m Butterfly final.

The Bath National Centre swimmer set a time of 59.28 in the final to improve on her eighth position from this morning’s semi-final.

Hibbott performed well to make the final as she continues to regain her form after switching back to open water swimming.

She won silver in the 400m Freestyle at the 2018 Gold Coast games so has adapted incredibly well to a completely different event.

Hopkin and Hindley both make 50m Freestyle Final

There was more to celebrate for Anna Hopkin and Isabella Hindley in the Women’s 50m Freestyle semi-finals.

The British duo both qualified for tomorrow’s final with Hopkin fourth and Hindley the eighth fastest qualifier.

Hopkin swam in the opening semi-final, finishing second with a time of 24.66.

That left her in a strong position to qualify as Hindley stepped up as part of the second semi-final.

It was an impressive swim from Hindley in the second semi-final as she finished fourth to progress via the final qualification spot.

Peaty dominates as he qualifies for breaststroke final

Adam Peaty was a class apart as he dominated the field to qualify fastest for the 100m Breaststroke final.

Peaty was the only swimmer to break the one-minute barrier in the mornings heats but improved in the semi-finals by setting a 59.02.

That was 0.78 ahead of the next quickest swimmer which was Australia’s Zac Stubblety-Cook.

He won’t be the lone Team England member in the final as James Wilby won the other semi-final.

Wilby continued his fine form after his silver medal on the opening day to win his semi-final with a time of 59.85.

That left him as the third fastest qualifier overall, leaving Team England in a strong position to get amongst the medals in tomorrow’s final.

Greg Butler just fell short of a place in the final as he finished eleventh fastest.

The Loughborough National Centre swimmer finished with a time of 1:00.90 in a strong performance in his first Commonwealth Games.

Another personal best for Cox

Lauren Cox smashed her personal best for the second time in a day as she booked her place in the Women’s 100m Backstroke final.

The Loughborough University swimmer bettered her time of a 1:00.77 from this morning by a further 0.41 to help her on way to the final.

Cox went in the second of the two semi-finals and placed third in her race which was enough to send her through as the fourth-fastest swimmer overall.