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ejc 2004: second gold for proud

Britain’s European Junior Championship team rounded off the event with a flourish as they took an impressive four medals on the closing night of competition. Star of the show again was Stephanie proud who defended her 200m backstroke title, while there were also one silver and 2 bronze medals. The haul brought Britain’s medal tally to 11, just one short of the target set by national youth coach John Atkinson ahead of the meet.
Proud was in no mood to let her title slip away and having qualified fastest from the heats, was never headed as she posted a world class time of 2:11.94 in the 200m backstroke final. That performance brought her home almost three seconds ahead of her nearest rival in a dominant victory. The medal was the Durham teenager’s second win of the meet and gave her the backstroke double. 50m bronze medallist HOllie O’Connor came home 5th in the same final in 2:16.98.
It was backstroke that provided the team’s silver medal with Scott Houston equalling is lifetime best from the semi finals to take the runners up spot in the 100m event. Houston trailed champion Aschuwin Wildeboer of Spain home by just 0.6s as he came in well clear of third place. Rachel Wilson was the team’s other individual medal winner, taking a strong bronze in the 100, breaststroke in a time of 1:10.92, just 7 one-hundredths of a second behind silver.
The final medal of the championships went to the girls 4x100m medley relay team of Proud, Wilson , Stephanie Johnson and Victoria Robinson, who battled hard with the German squad for the silver medal throughout the final but were ultimately just pipped by 0.12s.
Elsewhere, Lorna Tonks and Julie Gould managed 5th and 8th respectively in the 200m IM and Mark Branch was 4th in the 200m breaststroke, just missing out on the bronze medal, while the boys 4×100 medley relay team of Houston, Chris Watkinson, Michael Rock and Ed Denton also came home 4th in 3:46.29.