Tom Dean and Luke Greenbank got the British medal tally up and running on the opening night of the European Short Course Swimming Championships in Glasgow, with a pair of truly brilliant swims.
Having only secured the last spot into the Men's 400m Freestyle final, young Tom Dean was drawn in lane eight but wasn’t fazed, going about his business like a consummate professional. Swimming a measured race as he did to win his heat this morning, the National Centre Bath man attacked the final 150m with everything he had to move from fifth to second and win his first senior individual medal.
Setting another personal best, a delighted Dean said afterwards:
“I’m really, really happy with that. I didn’t come here with expectations of a medal in any event and the 400m Free is so new to me; it’s only really been this season I’ve picked it up. Training with Jimmy (Guy) has pushed me harder on the longer sets, so I’m really happy.
“I didn’t think I could win a medal – I just thought I’d float the first 200 and see if I could stick with these bigger boys and I knew I had more to give down the back end. That’s my first senior individual medal, which is pretty cool!”
In the Men’s 200m Backstroke Luke Greenbank broke the 10 year old British record for the second time today to take a splendid silver medal, ensuring Great Britain were on the podium in the opening medal race of the championships.
After his heat this morning the National Centre Loughborough swimmer said he wanted to execute his pacing strategy and that he did, turning on the after burners to move from fourth to second in the final two lengths of the pool. Touching in 1.50.09, the World Championship bronze medallist was naturally pleased with his efforts:
“That felt amazing - I felt a lot smoother than in the heat. I was a little unlucky to not go sub 1.50 but I’ve got that in me, just maybe not today! But the main thing is I’m over the moon to come away with a medal. I’ve got the 100m tomorrow and that has given me a lot of confidence.”
Asked what winning a medal in the opening final of the meet would do for the British team, Greenbank added:
“It’s really important to get off to a good start and I think once a few people start winning medals and swimming best times it really builds the momentum. There’s a good mood in the camp so hopefully we can carry this on!”
A Men’s 4x50m Freestyle Relay quartet were also in British record breaking from as they just missed out on a medal, finishing fourth in the closely fought final in 1.24.82.
Led off by youngster Scott McLay, the team were always in contention, Joe Litchfield and James Guy returning to the pool after swimming the 100m Fly just 20 minutes earlier to put in brilliant shifts for the team. Having swum the lead off leg this morning, Duncan Scott was moved to anchor given his pedigree for hunting people down. Taking up the gauntlet right in the mix, he couldn’t quite get the team onto the podium, despite swimming the second fastest split of the race. Afterwards the World Champion said:
“I think we all swam quicker than this morning and finishing fourth I think we surprised ourselves, so we’ve got to be happy with that. To get on the podium would have been a massive bonus but if you look around, none of us are 50m freestylers, so it was just good to work on executing our skills under pressure and practicing our relay takeovers. We gave it a good shot.”
Georgia Davies acquitted herself superbly in the first of two Women’s 100m Backstroke semi-finals, producing a strong swim to take second place and secure herself a spot in tomorrow night’s final. Swimming quicker than she did this morning, Davies was keen to progress round by round as she targets a place on the podium.
“I’m happy with that – I went faster than this morning and the plan will be to drop the time a bit more in the final. I’ve done more racing than I’ve done in a winter block before because of the ISL competitions, which has been really fun and different. Training has been good, so hopefully I’ll go well tomorrow.
“I could hear the crowd cheering for us Brits tonight, which was nice, and we’ve already seen two GB medals, which bodes well for the rest of the meet.”
Despite swimming personal bests neither James Guy nor Joe Litchfield advanced to the Men’s 100m Butterfly final, such was the quality on offer here in Glasgow. Both drawn in the first semi-final, Guy was always in contention, eventually finishing fifth and only missing the final by just over a tenth of a second, with Litchfield seventh.
Ross Murdoch put up a great fight in the Men’s 50m Breaststroke semi-finals, finishing within 0.04 seconds of his lifetime best to just miss out on a place in tomorrow’s final. Tenth overall, Murdoch was pleased with his effort, which sets him up nicely for the 200m Breaststroke, which starts tomorrow morning.
“I said this morning that I’d have to be on my best time to make it back for the final and that was as close as you can get to being a PB without actually getting it. I hit my turn really well and my finish was quite good, although could have been better, but I couldn’t have done much more overall. It looks good for the rest of the week – I’m back in tomorrow in the 200m Breaststroke and also the Mixed Medley, so my 50 is looking pretty strong for the relays.”
Full results can be found here
Tickets for the remainder of the European Short Course Swimming Championships can be still be purchased here (limited availability for some sessions), with live streaming of this evening finals available via the the BBC Sport website and app here.