Great Britain's swimmers win ten medals at European Youth Olympic Festival

Great Britain’s young swimmers have won ten medals at the recent European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in Banská Bystrica, Slovakia.

The 16-strong swim team featured twelve members of the Swim England pathway and had a successful week winning four golds, two silvers and four bronze medals on route to finishing second in the swimming medal table.

Swim England’s head of swimming talent, Richard Blackshaw took on the role as team leader for the event with Millfield Swimming Club coach, Matthew Puddy as part of the coaching staff.

The event in Slovakia ran from the 24-30 July.

Four apiece for Bilbao and Carter

Oscar Bilbao and Skye Carter were the pick of the bunch for Team GB, winning four medals a piece across the seven-day competition.

Bilbao got Britain’s first swimming gold of the competition, swimming a 2:18.82 as he won the race to the wall in the boys 200m Breaststroke final.

He came from behind in the last 50m’s to edge out Germany’s Emilian Hollank by just 0.040 seconds.

Bilbao then teamed up with Carter, Pheobe Cooper and Conor Cherrington as Britain too bronze in the Mixed 4x100m Medley relay.

The quartet finished just 0.43 off gold medal winners Germany in a tight battle for the podium places.

Germany took gold with a time of 4:00.45 just ahead of Romania (4:00.72) with Britain third settting a 4:00.88.

On day five Bilbao added two further medals to his collection with gold in the winning the boys 100m Breaststroke as well as joining Cherrington, Henry Gray and Stefan Krawiec to take gold in the Boys 4x100m Medley relay.

The Hereford born swimmer took the 100m Breaststroke title by 0.28 over his German rival Subajr Biltaev.

In the Boys 4x100m Medley relay Bilbao then led his team to the title ahead of France and Italy who took silver and bronze respectively.

The team of Bilbao, Cherrington, Gray and Krawiec all swam incredibly well as they took gold by 0.52 in a time of 3:47.85.

Carter had an impressive meet of her own adding to the bronze in the Mixed 4x100m Medley relay with two more bronze medals and a silver.

She took the silver in the Girls 50m Freestyle in a time of 25.94 after a strong swim in the ‘splash and dash’ race.

Carter was just 0.33 behind off Croatia’s Jana Pavalic who took the gold.

That wasn’t the only individual medal for the 14-year old from Essex as she won bronze in the Girls 100m Freestyle event.

Carter battled hard but was once again just beaten to the wall by Pavalic who took silver with Lithuania’s Smilte Plytnykaite who was the only swimmer to break the 56 second barrier with a time of 55.94.

She also joined forces with Cooper, Ella Homan and Isla Jones to take silver in the Girls 100m Freestyle relay.

The British team were massively unlucky as they just lost out in the race to the wall to the team from Lithuania.

Germany rounded off the podium places to take bronze just behind Britain’s time of a 3:51.90.

The quartet were joined on the podium by Kianna Coertze who swum well to help the British team through the heats.

Cooper’s stunning gold

Cooper had individual success in the Girls 200m Individual Medley.

She took gold in a time of 2:18.27 in a consistent swim.

The South Yorkshire swimmer finished just under a second ahead of Turkey’s Belis Sakar and Germany’s Noelle Benkler as her strong start saw her through to victory.

After the race Cooper said: “The race felt really good and the environment this week was awesome; I don’t think you’re going to get any better than that!”

Devon based swimmer Blythe Kinsman took bronze in the Girls 100m Backstroke.

On the final day of the swimming competition Kinsman held on well under pressure to claim EYOF bronze in a time of 1:03.38.

Krawiec also took an individual bronze in the Boys 100m Butterfly.

He took the final spot on the podium with a time of 54.97.

You can see all the results from EYOF here.

Photo credit – EYOF 2022.