Wednesday, May 19, 2021

European Silver for Dawson

Five years after her last European medal, Kathleen Dawson returned to the podium, winning silver in the 50m backstroke on Day 3 of the LEN European Aquatics swimming, being held in Budapest.

While Dawson was fastest into the final, it was Kira Toussaint (NED) who edged ahead in the first 25m. Dawson came back at her, but Toussaint held her off to win gold in 27.36. Dawson won silver in 27.46 and Maaike de Waard (NED) took bronze in 27.74. Dawson’s University of Stirling team-mate, Cassie Wild, produced another lifetime best, to finish fourth in 27.85.

Dawson said of her performance,

“I’m super pleased with myself given everything I’ve been through the last five years, since 2016. It’s been a hard journey but I’m so glad I made it back onto the podium especially in the 50 where I didn’t come into the meet expecting to get a medal from it.

“I was a bit stagnant there for a while even before my knee injury. Even with that I knew my swimming career wasn’t going to be over and I’m glad I stuck it out. I had such a great team behind me getting me back in the pool so I’m really pleased for myself and them too.”

Looking ahead to Tokyo, Dawson said,

“For me I can’t just sit back and say I’ve done my job. I’ve got to keep pushing on, as I know I have Cassie right behind me who is ready to take my place at any point and it’s great to have her there.”

Cassie herself was also pleased with her work over 50m and said,

“I’m over the moon as I’ve done three 50s and three PBs. Like so many others I’ve trained through this meet so I’m quite surprised. It’s been over three years since I’ve been anywhere near my 50 PB so I’m just looking forward to the 100 and 200 now. I didn’t think about it too much as a European final, I just thought of it as another race and was told to enjoy it, which I did.”

Duncan Scott also returned to the podium with silver as part of the 4x200m freestyle. Having raced the 200m IM and securing a place in tomorrow’s final less than 20 minutes earlier, Scott lined up with team-mates Tom Dean, Matthew Richards and James Guy for the final race of the night.

The Russian quartet dominated from start to finish, taking gold in 7:03.48, with GBR clawing back their lead to take silver in 7:04.61. The team from Italy won bronze in 7:06.05.

Afterwards Scott said of the potential of the team,

“This was a good learning curve for us, we all had different circumstances going into it. Myself and Deano with multiple events, Jimmy doing about 20 200 frees and going 1:45 in all of them and Matt with another opportunity at international level, which is great, and I think we’ve all learnt lots of different things from that and I think that will really help us push on in a couple of months time and that’s really exciting.”

It was a good night too for Keanna MacInnes. The University of Stirling athlete who is making her senior GBR debut at these Championships, secured a place in the final of the 200m butterfly, and said of her performance,

“Its really exciting. I am really glad I got the chance to come to the meet and to get through to the semi-finals, as historically my heats aren’t the best, so it was really good to get a good heat swim out this morning and continue that into tonight.

“I’m in an outside lane for tomorrow. It would have been nicer to be a bit closer to a middle but I’m not complaining to be in my first senior final in my first senior competition.”

Ross Murdoch will also be back in action tomorrow night in the final of the 200m breaststroke, where he posted a semi-final time of 2:08.83. The University of Stirling athlete said of his race,

“Faster than trials by 0.1 so that was great. I’m quite happy with the swim overall. It’s interesting having swam in this field for so long now you get to understand what people are going to do, what their tactics are. And it was completely different to what I thought it was going to be! It was a nice feeling to see the time at the end knowing I had executed quite a good race even though it didn’t go quite as I had anticipated. I’m glad to be faster than trials and that’s me in the final. Both me and Wilby (James Wilby) will be back tomorrow night. We rest up, take it easy and we go again tomorrow.”

Earlier in the day Edinburgh University's Lucy Hope finished in the top 16 after the 200m freestyle heats; however, as the third GBR swimmer to do so, did not proceed to the semi-finals because of the two per nation rule.

Full results can be found here.