Richards leads the British charge at the European Junior Swimming Champs

5 Jul 2019

Matt Richards smashed the British record with a stunning 100m Freestyle performance to win GB’s first gold of the 2019 European Junior Swimming Championships.

Matt Richards smashed the British record with a stunning 100m Freestyle performance to win GB’s first gold of the 2019 European Junior Swimming Championships.

After impressing in qualifying, the 17 year old went where no one has been before as he powered his way through 100m to stop the clock in 48.88, to win by a clear margin. A notable mention should also go to 14 year old Jacob Whittle who finished seventh, despite being two years younger than anyone else in the race.

“I’m quite happy, it all went well. I just wanted to keep up with the others 'til the turn as I knew my turn and my second 50m are good enough to be in a good position. It ended up gold, so I’m really happy.”

The Friday night medal rush was kick-started by Kayla Van Der Merwe, her bronze medal in the Women’s 200m Breaststroke the first of three medals in 30 minutes for the British Swimming squad. In the hunt for a medal throughout, the Winchester swimmer swan a courageous race to secure bronze behind two very strong Russian’s, lowering her PB to 2.26.55 in the process.

In the Men’s 50m Breaststroke final Archie Goodburn won the team’s third medal of a memorable evening in Kazan as he struck silver thanks to a 27.89 lifetime best. Goodburn finished just 0.12 behind the winner Vladislav Gerasimenko of the hosts, Russia, who successfully defended the title he won last year.

The team weren’t done there however, as Van Der Merwe returned to the water with teammates Pia Murray, Maisie Elliot and Evelyn Davis, the quartet winning bronze in the Women’s 4x100m Medley Relay. Murray got the team off to a great start on the butterfly leg, handing over to individual breaststroke medallist Van Der Merwe in third place, a position the team maintained all the way to the finish.

Katie Shanahan got Great Britain’s European Junior Swimming Championship medal tally off and running on the opening night in Kazan, Russia, as she scooped bronze. Contesting the Women’s 400m Individual Medley, Shanahan put together a fine race, moving through the field with each stroke to eventually move into the medals down the final length of the pool. Shanahan’s fellow Brit Freya Colbert also swam a great race to just miss out on a medal in fourth place, but could be pleased with a huge personal best.

The opening night also saw the Men’s 4x100m Freestyle relay quartet step onto the podium after an inspired performance saw them seal bronze. An extremely young team featuring Archie Goodburn, Ed Mildred, Matt Richards and Jacob Whittle weren’t overawed by their competition as four strong legs saw the boys home in third place. Special mention should also go to Adam Metcalf who contributed to the team in qualifying.

Mildred was back in action on the third night inside the Kazan Aquatics Palace and contesting the Men’s 200m Butterfly final, the youngster finished strongly to touch fourth.

Thursday night saw Honey Osrin deliver when it mattered most, stepping up to the plate to set a massive 200m backstroke personal best of 2.10.30 to win silver. Finishing quicker than anyone in the field, Osrin touched just 0.02 shy of gold, a truly brilliant swim.

Kyle Booth also produced a strong swim on the second night of action as he placed fifth in the Men’s 200m Breaststroke final in a new personal best time of 2:12.48, breaking the British age group record for a 17 year old.

The action in Kazan continues this weekend and can be viewed via the live stream here.

Full results can be found here.