Thursday, May 20, 2021

European Record and relay gold for Dawson

It was another gold medal winning finale for GBR as the quartet of Kathleen Dawson, Adam Peaty, James Guy and Anna Hopkin powered to gold and the European Record for the Mixed 4x100m medley relay on day 4 of the swimming meet at the LEN European Championships.

Dawson, going head to head with Russian World Record holder over 50m back, Kliment Kolesnikov, swam a strong first leg, handing over to Adam Peaty. Peaty powered through the field taking the GBR team up to 2nd behind Belarus, whose lead disappeared with James Guy on the butterfly leg.

Anna Hopkin showed her strength in the freestyle, anchoring the team home for gold in a European record time of 3:38.82. The team from Netherlands won silver in 3:41.28 while Italy secured the bronze medal in 3:42.30.

Afterwards, Hopkin said on behalf of the team:

“These guys got me a pretty good lead, I really didn't want to lose that! I definitely felt a little pressure, but I tried not to overthink it – I didn't want to look at where anyone else in the race was and just focused on what I was doing.

“I was really happy with that. I'm building through the week so I was just glad to get a shot at it tonight. This relay, I know we've got a huge shot at Olympic gold, so it means a lot to be a part of it here. I think we can all get quicker going into the Olympics, so it's really exciting going forward.”

Peaty added:

“Hopefully we can all perform at the Olympics as we should, get some good taper, some good individual performances and then that relay takes care of itself. This has made me more excited heading to the Olympics now, this event, it's the first time in a long time that we've felt we can break that world record. It's an exciting time to be a part of this relay, and as we mature and develop as a team, it's only going to go up from here.”

Earlier in the day Joe Litchfield and Harriet Jones swam the backstroke and butterfly legs respectively, two quality swims ensuring the team had lane four this evening and were able to bring home gold.

Earlier in the evening, Dawson and University of Stirling team-mate, Cassie Wild, both secured their places in the final of the 100m backstroke, which takes place on Friday. Dawson is fastest into the final, having posted a Championship Record of 58.44 in her semi final. Wild was also on her best time, with 59.75.

Dawson said of her performance,

“I was trying to hold back a bit for the mixed relay, but that was probably faster than I thought I would go. I definitely feel that there’s more to give tomorrow in the final.”

Wild added,

“I’m really happy to move it on from heat to semi-final and hopefully I can move it on again in the final. While it is a target to be in the mix for medals, I’m not going to put pressure on myself. I’ll try my best and if I focus on the process, then the outcome should follow.”

Ross Murdoch finished his 200m breaststroke final feeling far more at home in the event than he’s done for a while. The University of Stirling athlete, continue to move his time on, finishing 5th in the final in a time of 2:08.58.

Murdoch said of his performance,

“I wouldn’t say I’m fully on it here but it is feeling better than Trials. I am beginning to feel a lot more comfortable in my own skin in that event. Trials was the first one rested for the best part of two years so I’m definitely feeling more comfortable. I’m trialling a few new race tactics to get me back up there. A 2:08, I’ll take that time and it’s a good place to work on for Glasgow and then move it on again for Tokyo.”

Keanna MacInnes’ 200m butterfly final has left her wanting more. She finished in a time of 2:10.25 for 8th place, but is keen to take learnings from this international arena. She said,

“This is my first senior final as part of the British team and it is good experience. No, the final didn’t go as well as I hoped but it’s definitely a good learning opportunity and it is great to race in an arena like this.

“There are still a few Tokyo places up for grabs and there’s great depth in butterfly in Britain, so there will be a few of us looking to get the time in Glasgow and I’m looking forward to that.”

Duncan Scott had another busy day and this evening raced the 200m freestyle semi-finals, securing a place in tomorrow’s final, before finishing 6th in the 200m IM final, where he touched home in 1:58.18.

Scott spoke of his schedule and performance and said,

“I’m quite disappointed to be honest. I know how I’m feeling but I still don’t think that’s a true reflection of the shape I’m in at the moment. To go slower than the semis is really disappointing, as I felt great last night. It was a really tricky double last night, there wasn’t long between the IM and the relay but I felt I controlled my races last night well. 

“I’ve done about six 200s in two days and it’s good to get in some tough racing. There’s not many meets in the world where the 200 IM and 200 free cross over and it has been tough, but it has been good to navigate the rounds and challenge myself.”

Full results can be found HERE.