The final night of the Para Swimming European Championships was brought to a close in spectacular fashion with relay gold but not before the GBR team picked up nine other medals.
The Women’s SM14 Individual Medley saw a third clean sweep of the medals for Great Britain. Bethany Firth pulled away from the field to comfortably claim the gold medal in a time of 2:22.82.
Commenting on her third gold medal of Dublin 2018 Firth said, “I’ve had quite an up and down season, so going into that I decided to just focus on my own race, my own lane and just see what happened and I’m so happy with that result.
“Coming here and swimming close to my PBs has made me so happy and now I’m just looking forward to next season.
“I’ve found my hunger for winning again and I can’t wait to come back and smash it again.”
Jessica-Jane Applegate was next to stop the clock, she posted a new personal best time of 2:25.01 and sealed the silver medal with bronze going to Hatfield-based Louise Fiddes in a time of 2:26.49, also a new lifetime best.
In the very last race of the 2018 European Championships the relay quartet of Alice Tai, Maisie Summers-Newton, Toni Shaw and Zara Mullooly claimed gold in the Women’s 34pts 4x100m Medley Relay.
Backstroker Tai took the team out in the first leg, she was followed by Summers-Newton on the breaststroke leg, she then handed the baton over to Shaw for the penultimate butterfly leg and then Mullooly brought it home in a lightning fast final leg.
The Men’s S7 400m Freestyle was the first final on the seventh night of Dublin 2018 with British interest and Michael Jones did not disappoint.
It was neck and neck between Paralympic Champion Jones and the eventual silver medallist, Mark Malyar of Israel, all the way into the wall and only 0.15 seconds separated them at the wall.
Jones’ winning time was 4:48.54 and afterwards said, “I’m really happy with that result, it’s been a tough year especially after injuries and it shows all the work I’ve done to get back to this level and that it’s paid off.
“After my shoulder surgery late last year it’s taken time to get back in the water and I’ve only been doing speed work as recently as six weeks ago, so a massive thanks to the medical and support team within British Para-Swimming.
“I also have to thank British Para-Swimming for showing faith in me during injury and rehabilitation period, bringing me here as a wildcard was a bit of a gamble but hopefully they think it’s paid off.”
Bronze went to Andreas Bjornstad of Norway, his time at the touch was 4:51.40.
Eleanor Robinson put in a gusty final 25m of the Women’s S6 100m Freestyle final as she came from outside of the medal positions and claimed silver in spectacular fashion in a time of 1:13.46.
Gold went to Yelysaveta Mereshko of Ukraine and bronze to Victoria Savtsova also of Ukraine.
Great Britain was also represented in the S6 100m Freestyle by Grace Harvey, she also fought back hard and made up ground in the closing meters of the race but ran out of water to finish fourth in a time of 1:14.62.
Andrew Mullen soared to a silver medal in the Men’s S5 50m Butterfly, his time of 37.28 secured the podium finish in the Irish capital.
Reflecting on his silver medal performance Mullen said, “Yeah it was good swim, the time was slightly off my PB, I haven’t done a great deal of fly work because my focus this season has been the 50m backstroke but still very happy with both of today’s swims.
“I feel like I’ve learnt a lot about the execution of the race, although it was only a few one-hundredths better than this morning the process felt a whole lot better, so really happy with that.
“This meet has been a good learning experience for me, it sets me up nicely for the next two years going into Tokyo, I will reflect on what went well and what did and then move forward from there.”
He joined Tukey’s Beytullah Eroglu and Yaroslav Semenyenko of Ukraine on the podium, they took bronze and gold respectively.
Just 0.01 of a second separated silver and bronze in the final of the Women’s S10 100m Freestyle, Zara Mullooly battled hard but was edged into bronze, time at the touch 1:01.32.
“I’m really really happy with the time, especially considering I wasn’t expecting to go faster than at nationals a few weeks back so I’m pleased I managed to take another 0.3 of a second off my best time,” said Mullooly
The Netherlands Chantelle Zijderveld will depart Ireland the European Champion with gold and silver returns to France with Elodie Lorandi.
The last individual race of the meet for Great Britain saw Stephen Clegg, who trains out of Sunderland, go in the Men’s S12 100m Butterfly he challenged hard leading for the majority of the race, only to be overtaken in the final five meters.
Clegg explained after his bronze medal swim, “This week has all be about learning for me, I’ve been really trying to get the pacing right as it’s something I’ve struggled with previously.
“I tied up a bit in the final 15-20 meters but like I said this has all been about learning for the next two years.
“The aim today in that race [100m Butterfly] was to go sub 58, I thought that would be enough for a Gold medal, unfortunately not quite the case today.
A new personal best time of 57.97 for Clegg saw him settle for bronze.
An interesting turn of events in the Men’s SM14 200m Individual Medley final saw Tom Hamer upgraded from fourth to third and collect the bronze medal when Dutch swimmer Mark Evers who finished second disqualified.
Teammates Jordan Catchpole and Conner Morrison were ranked fifth and seventh respectively.
Gold went to Vasyl Krainyk of the Ukraine and silver to Robert Isak Jonsson of Norway.
After he set a new personal best of 26.43, Lewis White lined up for the Men’s S9 splash and dash 50m Freestyle final and stopped the clock in a time of 26.60 to finish fifth.
The event saw Simone Barlaam of Italy set a new World record of 25.00 for gold.
Toni Shaw brought her individual campaign of the Dublin 2018 championships to a close in the Women’s S9 50m Freestyle final. She finished in a time of 31.00 and ranked fifth overall.
Rebecca Redfern brought her week to a close as she went in the final of the Women’s S13 50m Freestyle where she touched fifth, her time 29.57.
Reflecting on a wonderful seven days of racing in the Irish capital, British Para-Swimming Head Coach Rob Aubry said, “We came into this competition with the aim of creating a learning environment and developing an opportunity for those younger athletes and also our senior athletes looking more at their second and third events.
“One of the main targets was to achieve a high rate of heats to finals progression and of that we’ve done with 93% in that area which is a great step up from previous events and games that we’ve been to.
“I’m really happy with the way that the athletes have conducted themselves, tried new things in warm-up, they’ve been professional from the moment they walk through the pool doors and it’s a great privilege to work with a team like that.
Speaking more specifically about the team’s medal target coming into the championships, “We looked at piecing together a World’s team so that we can build on it going forward, we brought out a small team and to reach that medal target, let alone smash it is a great achievement for the whole team here.
Missed any of the action from the last seven day of the World Para Swimming Allianz European Championships, you can watch it all again by clicking here and click here to view all of the results and time from the seventh finals session.