Harris and Hopkin head Monday heats for GB

15 Aug 2022

Five individual swimmers and the Mixed 4x100m Freestyle Relay team ensured their safe passage to the fifth night of finals at the European Aquatics Championships in Rome.

After a frantic finish to day four at the Foro Italico that saw British athletes claim a gold, silver and bronze medal in the space of 15 memorable minutes, Anna Hopkin got the qualifying action back underway on Monday morning, doing exactly what she needed to in the Women's 50m Freestyle heats.

The Loughborough Peformance Centre athlete blasted down one length of the pool to qualify fifth-fastest overall in her first individual race of the meet, with Anna among those managing their programmes and focusing on delivering some big relay performances.

Medi Harris' busy week continued in the heats of the Women's 100m Backstroke, the European and Commonwealth medallist looking controlled throughout her two laps to easily win her heat - only Kira Toussaint of the Netherlands went quicker across the entire event. In that final heat, GB debutant Lauren Cox was involved but could not quite get among the leaders down the second 50m, ultimately placing 24th.

There were two British qualifiers from the Women's 200m Individual Medley heats, as Katie Shanahan and Freya Colbert get ready to return in the semi-finals. Both teenagers have already stood on the podium for individual medals this meet, Shanahan winning silver in the 200m Backstroke and Colbert taking 400m Individual Medley bronze, as well as playing her part in Women's 4x200m Freestyle Relay success. 

In the 200m IM, it was Shanahan who set the British pace, using her strong backstroke leg to propel her into the leading pack. With both competing in the strongest heat of the three, Shanahan ultimately qualified sixth overall, with Colbert 14th.

The final individual qualifier on the morning was Mason Wilby, another making his British debut in Rome. While Mason was not quite able to put together his best swim in the Men's 200m Butterfly, the two-athlete-per-nation rule into the semi-finals meant he qualified as 15th seed, and he will hope to move things on in the evening.

Medi Harris 50m Back start Rome 2022
Medi Harris

The session came to a close, from a GB perspective, with another relay qualifier. This time, it was the Mixed 4x100m Freestyle Relay, as Ed Mildred, Jacob Whittle, Lucy Hope and Freya Anderson combined in the first of two heats.

Mildred and Whittle showed little fatigue from their bronze-medal exploits in the Men's 4x100m Freestyle Relay the previous evening, and the two men went up first to leave the British quartet third at the halfway stage, as Hope dived in. 

Lucy's back 50m was impressive, clawing back the second-placed French team for anchorwoman Anderson to get in and deliver her usual unerring display down the final 100m. While she could not quite get past France, the Italians were overtaken in the closing stages to see Britain through to the final ranked second across the event. 

The other event on Monday morning was the Men's 50m Breaststroke. Coming straight back from his golden triumph in the 200m a few hours earlier, James Wilby could not quite match the one-lap pace required to make the semi-finals, placing 19th and missing out on qualification by a single spot after the two-per-nation rule was applied. Just behind him, Greg Butler was ranked 22nd. 

For more info on results, start lists and how to watch every session of swimming on the BBC, click here.