After his silver medal winning performance last night, Duncan Scott was back in the water and back breaking records as he topped the qualifiers for tonight’s Men’s 200m Individual Medley final.
With four Brits taking to the water, the battle was just as much about who would be the top two from the British team, given LEN’s two per nation rule meant that only two of the four could take up a spot in the final.
Up first were Max Litchfield and Tom Dean, the duo having already contributed two of the five medals won by the team so far. It was Bath man Dean who came out on top, a fourth PB of the meet seeing him touch third, with Litchfield just behind.
Afterwards Dean said:
“That was my fourth swim of the meet and my fourth PB, so I’m happy but it was a tough morning swim. But then I’ve just watched Joe and Duncan do some amazing times, so they well deserve their places in the final and I wish them all the best, but it is frustrating not to get a second swim!”
Going in the final heat Scott and Joe Litchfield knew what they had to do, both posting personal bests to advance to the final. Scott didn’t have it all his own way though, as it took a trademark blistering final freestyle leg to take the win, his 1.52.33 time eclipsing James Goddard’s old British record.
“I’m happy with that – it was a big PB, so it was good. It’s hard if you want to make it back and you’re British – over the last couple of years we’ve got a lot of depth in the event and Mark Szaranek isn’t even here.”
Naturally pleased with his efforts after swimming another PB, GB senior debutant Joe will now line-up in his first senior international final after finishing third in his race and fifth fastest overall.
“Finally! It was still a stacked race but out of all of them this was the one where I was expecting to swim a time that would get me in the top eight, but I knew it would depend on what Max and Deano did. Fortunately I’ve come out on top this time and I’m through to the final with Dunc. I’ll just go out there and have fun now and try and swim fast – I don’t want to put any pressure on it.”
Rounding out a slightly shorter morning session was the Women’s 4x50m Freestyle Relay, an untried team of Anna Hopkin, Siobhan-Marie O’Connor, Georgia Davies and Freya Anderson surprising a few people as they won their race to qualify second quickest for tonight’s final, smashing a 19 year old British record in the process. Whilst Anderson and Hopkin have pedigree in this event, O’Connor and Davies stepped up to the plate with strong swims to set the team up nicely, taking over two seconds off the old mark set at these championships when they were held in Valencia in the year 2000.
Laura Stephens made light work of progressing from the heats of the Women’s 200m Butterfly, winning the second of three races to put herself fifth on the standings ahead of this evening’s final. Looking strong throughout, the Plymouth swimmer was pleased with her efforts, commenting:
“I’m really happy with that – it was a good time to post in the morning and hopefully that’ll see me through to the final and I’ll try and step it up tonight. Short course is very, very different and I haven’t been to a major short course meet yet, so this is a first for me, but I’m really enjoying it so far.”
Molly Renshaw secured herself a place in the next round of the Women’s 100m Breaststroke after a solid swim in the sixth and final heat of that event. She touched sixth but was quick enough to advance, however debutant Kayla Van Der Merwe was seventh in the same race, just outside the qualifying places.
The first round of the Men’s 100m Breaststroke also took place on Friday morning, with both Britons in action making sure they’ll be back tonight for the semi-finals. Having a great week so far, Ross Murdoch produced another strong swim, whilst James Wilby upped his game to make it through. Both men will have to move through the gears this evening if they’re to make the final.
The Men’s 50m Freestyle is always a race of fine margins, with Scott McLay falling just the wrong side of them, missing out on a semi-final place by just 0.1 of a second after a slightly sub-par turn.
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 all of the final available via the BBC Sport website.