Sunday, May 23, 2021

Medal Rush for GBR on final night in Budapest

Great Britain secured another six medals on the final night of swimming action in Budapest, including golds for both medley relay teams and a superb silver for Cassie Wild in the 200m backstroke.

The medley relay has always proven to be a thrilling way to end a swimming meet, and tonight did not disappoint. In the women’s event, GBR swam a new quartet to that of the heats, with Kathleen Dawson, Molly Renshaw, Laura Stephens and Anna Hopkin taking to the blocks on the hunt for a medal.

Dawson’s lead off on the 100m backstroke was staggering and the European Champion in the individual event, broke the European Record, in a time of 58.08, giving Molly Renshaw a healthy lead for the breaststroke leg. Renshaw handed over to Laura Stephens with Anna Hopkin on the freestyle leg, powering the team home to victory in a Championship Record time of 3:54.01. The team from Russia won silver in 3:56.25 and Italy won bronze in 3:56.30.

Kathleen Dawson said of her European record breaking performance,

“It's great to finally get it, especially here. It's amazing seeing the British team doing so well, it was amazing seeing Cassie and then the boys win tonight, that really lit a fire under me, so I think I knew I was going to make it.”

Anna Hopkin said of the team’s performance,

“After Kat did such an amazing time to start us off, I think we all just felt like we couldn't let that go. She got us off to an amazing start and we all just built on that.”

Molly Renshaw added,

“I don't usually get a chance to swim relays. I think we were just so pumped after watching Cassie and the boys, like Kat said, so going in I was just really excited, and then Kat smashed it from the start and we were able to hold on to that.”

Laura Stephens also commented,

“Like the girls have said, the momentum we've had going tonight has been incredible, so I'm really glad we were also to meet that bar. It's great to be part of the team, relays are always great and the team spirit we have here is really motivational.”

The heat swimmers of Cassie Wild, Sarah Vasey, Harriet Jones and Freya Anderson will also receive gold medals.

As the women highlighted, the men’s 4x100m medley was also won by GBR with the quartet of Luke Greenbank, Adam Peaty, James Guy and Duncan Scott starting as favourites. The World Champions from Gwangju, were pushed hard, but Scott anchored them home in a Championship Record time of 3:28.59. The Russians had to settle for silver in 3:29.50, while the Italians picked up another bronze in 3:29.93.

Duncan Scott said of the performance,

“For us to be able to do that on the last night is exciting for what is to come in the summer.

“You can look at so many different areas of that that we can improve on individually, but then also as a team as well. It's going be tough because there are teams still looking to qualify for the Olympics so we had to be on it this morning and we were - and that was a really good swim from everyone tonight.”

James Guy who earlier in the evening had won bronze in the 100m butterfly said,

“It is hard going back-to-back 100m fly, the legs do hurt quite a bit, but the last one is always for the boys. That's one thing we love to do, racing for each other and do our team and everyone at home who supports us proud. What a great way to finish in style and to get the gold medal.”

European 200m backstroke silver medallist, Luke Greenbank, said

“I'm over the moon with this week, it's been fantastic to race and get this experience. It's something we've been starved of a little over the past year or two.

“It's been fantastic, and to finish off with these guys is just the perfect end really.”

Adam Peaty said of the performances,

“It was getting close. As Jimmy said earlier, this is the end of the week, my ninth race, and as a sprinter who does 100m breast, that's a lot of racing and I felt it down the back end tonight.

“It's looking v strong. We couldn't have done that without the guys swimming the heats this morning, so it's a great team effort all round.”

The heat swimmers who will also receive a gold medal are Joe Litchfield, James Wilby and Tom Dean.

In the final of the 200m backstroke, Cassie Wild swam the race of her life to win the silver medal in a new Scottish Record time of 2:07.74 Wild went out strong and stayed close to Margherita Panziera (ITA) and while the Italian pulled away with 50 to go, Wild came back with speed into the wall, winning silver. Panziera won gold in a new Championship Record time of 2:06.08 with Katalin Burian of Hungary winning bronze in 2:07.87.

Katie Shanahan, in her first senior international final, posted another personal best time of 2:09.90 to finish in sixth.

Wild said of her performance,

“I can't stop smiling! I actually can't quite believe that, because it's been such a tough week with how much I've been racing. For me, it's a lot - normally I get to the end of a three-day meet and feel like I need a break!

“That was my 12th race, so I'm just absolutely thrilled. The 200m is always something I didn't like, to be honest, I'd always try to avoid doing it, but everyone has said that with my stroke I could do a good 200m Back and I used to say, 'no!' Now I've done one I'm probably going to be doing a few more. I think the more I swim it and the more confident I get with the race plan, I reckon I can drop more. I think when I put more attention into it, it'll definitely get a bit easier. “

Speaking about her meet in general, Wild added,

“To be honest, I was aiming more for the 100m, and even the 50m - I wasn't going to swim it and then Steve (Tigg) said, 'it'd be a nice way to start the meet' and I've always struggled in the 50m, so I thought I'd swim heats and maybe semis and probably have the day off before the 100m.

“Obviously I then swam really well in the 50m, and then the 100m, I was a little bit disappointed but given everything, it was still a good time, and then to swim faster in the second final was quite good. I knew I was quite fit, but I didn't think I'd drop a 2:09 and then a 2:07 in the 200m, so I'm absolutely thrilled.”

Katie Shanahan said of her senior team debut,

“I am so so happy to finish off my first senior team with a performance like that. I’ve got the Glasgow meet coming up then hopefully I can finish off my season strong at the European Juniors should I get selected.”

GBR topped the medal table with the number of golds won and were second on the table with total number of medals won. The medal table can be found HERE.

The results from the meet can be found HERE.