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Relay team retain European title and take Great Britain’s first gold in Rome

Great Britain were crowned champions in the Women’s 4x100m Freestyle as they won their first gold of this year’s European Aquatics Championships.

Coming off the back of a busy summer, the team had to wait until day three of the competition before they topped the podium.

It was Anna Hopkin, Freya Anderson, Lucy Hope and Medi Harris who teamed up to retain the European title. The one change from the successful team of 2021 saw Harris replace Abbie Wood.

Great Britain were in third after Hope’s opening leg and Hopkin then made up one place after a solid swim.

Harris closed the gap on the third leg as she chased down the race leader before handing over to Anderson to bring it home.

Anderson began the charge right from the off and her superb anchor leg saw the team finish in a time of 3:36.47 and win gold from out in lane eight.

It was also a third medal for Anderson, who now has a bronze, silver and gold medal so far at the championships.

On the win, Hopkin said: “I was happy with that. We weren’t quite sure how we were going to line up against the rest of the teams, you never know who they’re going to put in.

“Obviously we’re the defending champions from last year so a little bit of pressure on us and I think we dealt with it well and came out with the win so that was great.

“First gold of the meet so it’s good that the girls have done it and hopefully the boys can get one too.”

The British quartet rounded off an evening which saw both Luke Greenbank and Freya Colbert also secure bronze medals in their respective events.

Greenbank bounces back for bronze

Luke Greenbank followed up on his disappointment at the Commonwealth Games to win the bronze medal in the Men’s 200m Backstroke final.

After finishing fifth in Birmingham, the 24-year-old came back strongly in the second half of today’s race to battle it out for a medal.

It was a close finish between the top four, but Greenbank took the bronze at the wall in a time of 1:56.15.

French swimmer Yohann Ndoye Brouard won the gold medal, with Hungary’s Benedek Kovacs taking silver.

After his race, Greenbank said: “It’s been a hell of a seven weeks. It’s got me to near breaking point but I’m happy to finish there with a 1:56 low and my medal and just bounce off the disappointment of Commonwealths and come away with something here.

“I think looking back at it [Commonwealths], I was probably a bit hard on myself but in the moment sometimes emotions get the better of you.

“I think if that wasn’t a home Games with my family in the crowd and stuff, I would’ve maybe handled that a little bit better and been less harsh on myself, but it was tough.

“I’m happy with what I did there under difficult circumstances and I know I’m going to do better next year. I’ve got the motivation off the back of this year.

“I’m really motivated to get back in now. Definitely having a bit of time off, but really excited to get back in and work hard.”

Colbert claims bronze

Freya Colbert was ahead at the halfway stage of the Women’s 400m Individual Medley and went on to claim the bronze medal in 4:40.06.

The 18-year-old was able to hold on to a place in the medal spots despite the pressure from home swimmer, Sara Franceschi of Italy.

Colbert won Great Britain’s second bronze medal of day three and her teammate, Katie Shanahan, finished in seventh as she clocked in at 4:49.48.

Colbert said: “I could see that I was in second when I came onto the Freestyle, I was just really starting to feel it down the last 25m.

“I could feel my stroke rate dropping and I was just trying to make it to the wall but I’m still really happy with the bronze. I wanted to make the podium and that’s what I’ve done.

Discussing swimming alongside fellow GB swimmer Shanahan, Colbert added: “I did European Juniors last year with her so it’s a nice, familiar setting.

“That probably helped me through the week. It was nice to be in the lane next to her. I knew she’d be tough competition so I just tried to get ahead as soon as possible and hold on.”

Dean misses out on medal

It was a stacked final in the Men’s 100m Freestyle as Tom Dean lined up in lane eight.

The Bath National Centre swimmer missed out on a medal with his time of 48.23.

He finished in seventh place. The gold medal winner was 17-year-old Romanian swimmer David Popovici who set a new world record time of 46.86.

Hanlon finishes eighth

Kara Hanlon set a solid time of 1:08.08 in the Women’s 100m Breaststroke final.

The 25-year-old set a new lifetime best in her semi-final swim but finished just outside of that in the final to touch home in eighth place.

Wilby sneaks a place in the final

Both James Wilby and Greg Butler competed for places in the final of the Men’s 200m Breaststroke.

Butler swam in the first semi-final but finished in seventh place. His time of 2:13.21 was the 14th fastest overall seeing him miss out on a place in the final.

Commonwealth Games silver medallist in this event, Wilby, went out in lane seven of the second semi-final.

The GB swimmer took it out strongly and was in third at the halfway stage, with less than half a second separating all the swimmers.

He dropped to fifth, clocking a time of 2:11.73, but it was enough to sneak into the final as he secured the last remaining qualifying spot.

Anderson fourth fastest into final

Prior to being part of the gold medal-winning relay team, Freya Anderson was bidding for a place in the final of the Women’s 200m Freestyle.

It was another great swim for the 21-year-old who was in second place at the final turn and maintained that position until the finish.

She touched home in 1:57.76 in her semi-final to qualify as the fourth fastest.

Mildred will be first reserve

Jacob Peters and Edward Mildred were hoping to book their places in the Men’s 100m Butterfly final.

Peters was first up but a seventh place finish meant he missed out on a finals spot. His time was 52.52.

In the second semi-final, Mildred went 51.70 to finish in sixth and set the ninth fastest time. He will be the first reserve for the final.

Cox and Harris feature in Backstroke semi-finals

Lauren Cox and Medi Harris featured in the Women’s 50 Backstroke semi-finals.

Harris went in the opening semi-final and touched the wall in 27.68 for second place.

Her time went on to be the second fastest qualifying time, securing her a place in the final.

Cox finished fourth in her heat to set the joint ninth fastest time of 28.19. She will be a reserve swimmer for the final.