four up for britain as girls strike

It was like waiting for buses – once the first one turned up three more did as well with Britain taking four medals on the third night of finals in Budapest. In almost perfect conditions following the downpour of Tuesday, the home team secured two each of silver and bronze.
After Melanie Marshall had broken the British duck, the team did not have to wait much longer to increase their tally. 16 laps of the pool later the two Rebeccas, Adlington and Cooke, had taken silver and bronze in the 800m freestyle. For Adlington her time of 8:27.88 represented a PB by almost three seconds and kept her ahead of her senior colleague by just over half a second as Cook posted 8:28.40 – 0.1s shy of her best. While the British girls were comfortably clear of the rest of the field, they were still no match for Laure Manadou, who bounced back form her 400IM travails to break the European record and take her first gold of the week in 8:19.29 – erasing the last individual continental standard to be held by an East German athlete.
Britain’s other medal success came in the women’s 100m breaststroke as a fast finishing Kirsty Balfour just failed to mow down eventual winner Ganna Khlystunova of the Ukraine and therefore had to settle for silver in a time of 1:07.95. The 200m is her better event though and this performance enhances her status as favourite for that race. Kate Haywood started brightly but faded in the closing metres to come home 5th in 1:08.78.
In the 100m freestyle final, Fran Halsall made huge strides forward, setting her third PB of the meet in the event to finish fourth in 54.88 behind a stunning world record of 53.30 from Germany’s Britte Steffan. At 16 Halsall was the youngest in the field by 5 years but managed to put such greats as Martina Moravcova and former world champion Hanna-Maria Seppala in her wake.
For the men it was also a case of so near and yet so far as they took fourth in two of the finals contested. David Carry was agonisingly one one-hundredth of as second behind bronze medal winner Filipo Magnini in the 200m freestyle, while a disappointed Simon Burnett came home one place further back in 5th. Carry set a new PB of 1:47.58 – a result that bodes well for the men’s relay prospects, while the incomparable Pieter van den Hoogenband took the title in 1:45.65, well clear of runner up Massi Rosolino.
Gregor Tait was the other Brit to just miss out with 4th in the 200IM final. The Scot held the silver medal position at the 150m mark but was mown down by the fast finishing Italian Allesio Boggiato and Hungarian Tamas Kerekjarto on the closing freestyle leg. Meanwhile Lazlo Cseh had been making serene progress at the front of the race, never being headed as he took the title in 1:58.17, a new championship record. Britain’s other representative Euan Dale manage a creditable 6th paced finish.
In the evening’s semi finals, there was further good news for Britain, with Matt Clay and Liam Tancock progressing to eth final of the 50m backstroke 2nd and fourth, and James Kirton and Kris Gilchrist claiming final spots in the 200m breaststroke. Lizzie Simmonds just missed out in the 100m backstroke but despite her earlier exertions in the 200m, was still able to set a PB of 1:02.42 for 9th place.