Kayla van der Merwe sets new personal best as she storms to European gold

Kayla van der Merwe set a new personal best for the second time in less than 24 hours as she won Great Britain’s second gold medal at the European Junior Swimming Championships.

The Winchester City Penguins swimmer had qualified third fastest in 1:07.96 in the Women’s 100m Breaststroke semi final – shattering her previous record by 0.60 seconds.

But on the final day of the championships in Kazan, Russia, van der Merwe was in scintillating form and knocked a further 0.84 seconds off her semi-final time to top the podium in 1:07.12.

The 16-year-old was 0.18 seconds clear of Russia’s Anastasia Makarova (1:07.30) with Evgeniia Chikunova third in 1:07.63.

She said: “It was really exciting, before and during the race.

“I didn’t expect this gold as our focus is not on this meet but rather on the World Championships so this win is simply awesome.”

It was van der Merwe’s third medal of the championships after she won a bronze in the Women’s 200m Breaststroke and was part of the Women’s 4x100m Medley team that also finished third.

Superb silver for Richards

Matthew Richards won silver in the Men's 200m Freestyle final at the European Junior Championships

Britain’s other gold medallist of the competition, Matt Richards, added a silver to the British tally on the final day.

He also set a new personal best time as he clocked 1:47.23 in the Men’s 200m Freestyle.

Richards, who triumphed in the Men’s 100m Freestyle race, was third going into the final 50m but touched home 0.03 ahead of Switzerland’s Antonio Djakovic, who took the bronze in 1:47.26.

Sweden’s Robin Hanson won the gold medal in 1:46.93.

Women claim second in freestyle relay

The Great Britain Women’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay team of Freya Colbert, Tamryn van Selm, Emma Russell and Mia Slevin took second after overcoming Germany on the final leg.

They were third with 200m to go but finished in 8:03.77 to take the silver medal behind Russia, who were 2.15 seconds clear in 8:01.62 to top the podium.

Germany were 0.22 behind the British team to win the bronze medal in 8:03.99

Near misses on final day

Katie Shanahan missed out on a European Junior Championships  by the narrowest of margins.

After winning bronze in the Women’s 400m Individual Medley on the opening day of the competition, she touched home in a time of 2:14.55 to finish fourth in the 200m race.

That was only 0.26 behind Israel’s Lea Polonsky, who finished in 2:14.29 to take third spot.

Charlie Hutchinson was also a whisker away from a medal in the final of the Men’s 400m Individual Medley.

The 17-year-old finished fourth in a time of 4:17.63 – only 0.41 seconds behind the bronze medallist, France’s Leon Marchand (4:17.22).

Meanwhile, the men’s 4x100m Medley team of Hutchinson, Richards, Archie Goodburn and Jacob Whittle also had to settle for fourth place.

They finished in 3:42.95, only 0.19 seconds behind third-placed Turkey (3:42.76).

Honey Osrin, a silver medallist in the Women’s 200m Backstroke final, finished fifth in the Women’s 100m Backstroke in 1:02.11

Her team-mate, Medi Harris, was eighth in a time of 1:02.46.

Sophie Yendell was also fifth in the Women’s 50m Butterfly after recording a time of 27.16.

In the Men’s 100m Breaststroke, Goodburn and Kyle Booth finished sixth and seventh respectively.

Goodburn clocked 1:01.65 while Booth touched home in 1:02.61.