Brits end European campaign on a high

7 May 2016

The British Para-Swimming Team finished the IPC Swimming European Championships in Madeira with 22 gold medals to end the competition with a total of 46 medals.

The women’s 34 point 4x100m Medley Relay brought the night to a storming close as they secured the last gold medal of the competition.

Claire Cashmore, Susie Rodgers, Steph Millward and Harriet Lee put in an excellent performance to finish in a time of 4:53.15.

At the half way point the quartet sat in first place and they put in a strong final 100m to seal the gold medal.

“I was a little tired going into that but I couldn’t let anyone down,” Millward said. “It’s a wonderful team and we supported each other well.”

“I knew I had to get a lead with these girls coming in and helping Susie out in the end,” Lee said. “I worked hard and it worked harder and it was great to be part of that team again.”

“I was shaking a little bit on the blocks,” Cashmore said. “I think I was a little bit nervous. As a team we really wanted to show our dominance going into Rio and I think we definitely did that.”

“It means the world,” Rodgers said. “I have to say these girls were amazing. I always need them to give me a great leg and they really did and they gave me such a lead and I just needed to hang on.”

Silver went to Russia in 4:58.79 with Hungary taking bronze with a time of 5:15.11.

Paralympic medallist Steph Millward completed her set of medals with gold in the S9 400m Freestyle.

Millward came from behind to take her gold as she moved ahead of Nuria Marques Soto (Spain) at the half way point.

The Brit finished in a time of 4:45.71.

"That was a really good swim,” Millward said. “My coach told me to go out easy on the first 100m and then build on the rest. I thought I can do that, I’ve been practicing for a long time so therefore that is exactly what I did.

“I could see everyone was behind me and that always gives you confidence. I knew that this morning Nuria had gone out quite hard so I thought just ignore her and swim my own race. It’s the best way. You know yourself better than anyone.

“It feels incredible to go home with a gold, silver and a bronze now how wonderful is that.”

Silver went to Marques Soto in 4:53.77 with bronze going to Zsofia Konkoly (Hungary) who finished in 4:54.84.

Susie Rodgers secured her fourth individual gold medal of the competition with a strong finish in the S7 50m Freestyle.

The Brit had a good start to the race but was pushed all the way by Germany’s Denise Grahl but Rodgers grabbed that gold as she reached for the wall.

She finished in a time of 33.80 and later commented: “I just gave it everything on that race and it’s great to end the week on a high. I wanted to try and go a 33 if I could and it shows that it’s in there and gives me confidence.

“I like when it is a tight race it can be hard when it’s you’ve just got the clock and nothing else. I am really pleased for Denise and Erel as well because they did so well.”

Grahl won the silver in a time of 34.25 and Erel Halevi (Israel) took bronze in 37.77.

Steph Slater won her second gold of the European Championships with a strong performance in the S8 50m Freestyle.

Slater moved into the lead at the half way point and with an excellent finish she won gold in 30.57.

Silver went to Katerina Istomina (Ukraine) in 31.76 while Olesia Vladykina (Russia) took bronze in 31.84.

Ellie Robinson brought her European campaign to a close with silver in the S6 50m Butterfly and she knocked almost a second off her personal best as she touched in 35.66.

In the women’s SM14 200m Individual Medley, the British Team had Bethany Firth and Jessica-Jane Applegate in lanes next to each other. Firth went on to win silver in a new personal best time of 2:12.24 while Applegate took bronze in 2:26.49.

Four-time European Champion Andrew Mullen secured bronze in the S5 50m Freestyle with a time of 35.41

European Champion Tom Hamer won bronze in the SM14 200m Individual Medley with a time of 2:15.94.

Josef Craig finished in fourth place in the S8 50m Freestyle in a new personal best time of 27.22.

Paralympic Champion Jonathan Fox secured fourth in the S7 50m Freestyle in 2957.

Lewis White finished in fifth place in the S9 400m Freestyle with a time of 4:33.70.

National Performance Director Chris Furber said: “Coming off the back of a tough Paralympic Trials event this has been a solid performance from the team. It’s been great to see the debutants all performing well and settling into the team brilliantly.

“We’ve benchmarked ourselves against some of the best in the world and we now need to continue the momentum we’ve built in every training session between now and Rio where the challenge will be our toughest yet.”