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Laura Stephens wins 200m Butterfly with lifetime best swim

Laura Stephens of Plymouth Leander was the first athlete to duck under the consideration time for Gold Coast in the final session of the Swim England National Winter Championships.

The 18-year-old, who won a pair of bronze medals at the 2016 European Junior Championships, took gold in the 200m Butterfly.

She was almost second under the consideration time, as well as her previous personal best. Stephens made it to the wall in a time of 2:09.32 to claim her second gold of the meet, having also won the 100m Fly crown.

Stephens said: “I’m over the moon. Training’s been so tough, we’ve really tried to step things up this season. I’ve been stuck at that 2:10 barrier for quite a long time now so to finally dip under that is such a good feeling.”

Aimee Willmott of the University of Stirling secured the silver medal for her time of 2:10.61. This added to her two gold medals in the 200m and 400m IM.

City of Leeds’ Ciara Schlosshan followed up for third, touching in 2:11.79.

Caitlin Hubbard won the B final in a new personal best time, 2:15.60. The City of Birmingham swimmer beat Wirral Metro’s Tori Sopp and Ealing’s Lucy Thornton for gold.

A second gold for Plymouth in as many races

Tom Fannon secured a second gold medal for Plymouth Leander in the next A final.

The 19-year old won the men’s 50m Freestyle final with more than 0.3 seconds to spare. He beat Edinburgh-based David Cumberlidge to claim the title in a new personal best time of 22.10.

Like teammate Stephens, Fannon secured the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth consideration time with his swim.

“I’m very pleased,” said Fannon, who picked up 50m Free bronze at the 2016 European Juniors.

“I’ve got a lot of improvements to make. On the 50 it’s all technical, so it’s nothing really to do with training, it’s how technically well you perform on the day.

“It went well today but I know I can go a little faster and dip into that 21 but it takes time.

“My coach has done a great job getting me mentally prepared for the race so that really helps. Hopefully I can get into the senior events and start medalling. We’ll see how things go.”

Cumberlidge touched in 22:43, whilst Lewis Burras of Southport took bronze with 22.62.

James Oxborrow of Loughborough Uni put in a good performance to win the B final. He beat Lewis Clifford Stephenson and Andrew Roy to take the top spot on the podium in 22.97.

Plymouth dominate men’s 4x100m Medley relay

Fannon landed a second gold of the night as he helped Plymouth Leander to victory in the men’s 4x100m Medley relay. They were the dominant force in the race and left the competition in their wake.

The quartet of Perry Gardner, Adam Chillingworth, Reece Dunn and Fannon swam a collective 3:37.58 for gold.

Second place went to Pioneer 79 with a time of 3:52.93 and third place to City of Peterborough in 3:54.59.

Mount Kelly won the women’s 4x100m Medley relay event, beating Birmingham Uni and Hatfield.

Athena Clayson, Niamh Robinson, Kaylee Dekker and Georgina Dennis were more than six seconds faster than their closest rivals. They touched in 4:16.09.

  • Click here to see full results from the Swim England National Winter Championships 2017.
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