Friday, July 28, 2017

Golden night at World Championships for relay boys

At the FINA World Championships in Budapest the GBR team went into the 4x200m freestyle final as defending champions and they were not going to give up their title without a fight. And a superb effort by all five in the team, across heats and final, produced gold.

The quartet of Stephen Milne, Nick Grainger, Calum Jarvis and Duncan Scott secured the place in the final, posting a time of 7:05.79 in the morning heats. For the final itself, James Guy, fresh from a superb 100m butterfly semi-final took over the anchor leg with Calum Jarvis sitting out.

Stephen Milne (Perth City) was the lead-off, with a solid swim of 1:47.25 for 5th at the first hand-over, with Russia and the USA making the early pace. Nick Grainger was second in for GBR and again, kept the race alive with 1:46.05 for his leg. Grainger handed over to Duncan Scott (University of Stirling) who swam an excellent leg to take GBR into the bronze medal position.

Having only had around 30 minutes to recover from his British record breaking 100m butterfly semi-final, James Guy hit the water and powered through the field. While the commentators may have worried that he went too soon, Guy was not going to settle for anything other than Gold. He touched home in 7:01.70 with his own leg being done in an outstanding 1:43.80.

The Russian Federation won silver in 7:02.68 and USA took bronze in 7:03.18.

After the race Scott said,

“We kept it going throughout the race. You’ve got to put what’s happened behind you, today was a new day but it actually felt like day one of the Championships, the energy we had for this race was unbelievable. We all just needed to execute it perfectly and not let the adrenalin get the better of us. We did that.

“Standing on the podium is just incredible. We’ve got real pedigree in this event, we just need to make sure we've the best quartet available, and fortunately GBR has depth in the 200m.

Stephen Milne also added,

“That was an amazing way to end my season, such an exciting event to be part of. We are now in the first year of the Tokyo cycle and we will take this as a starting point for the next four years.”

Ahead of that relay University of Stirling’s Ross Murdoch produced another excellent race in the final of the 200m breaststroke. Moving up to the bronze medal position at 150m he was just edged out of the medals on the touch, finishing fourth overall in 2:08.12. Gold went to Anton Chupkov (RUS) in a new European and Championship Record time of 2:06.96 with Yasuhiro Koseki and World Record holder Ippei Watanabe of Japan winning silver and bronze respectively in 2:07.29 and 2:07.47.

After the race Murdoch was upbeat and said,

“I gave it my best. I thought I put the race together really well, so I’ll have to look back on the footage. But overall I’m happy to be up there with the best in the world.

“I feel I’m back to my best form so I just need to keep it going for the next few years. The 200m is my event, my stroke sits nicely on a slower stroke rate; it’s a great event to swim in. All I need to do is keep fit and healthy and keep this going for next year for the Commonwealth Games and the European Championships.

“The Europeans are back in Glasgow; I’m an Ambassador for the Championships and it’s going to be exciting to race back at home again. You listen to the roar the Hungarians are getting in front of their home crowd and I can’t wait for it to be like that again in Glasgow.”