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halsall rules europe with third gold

Francesca Halsall confirmed herself as the premier junior sprinter in Europe as she took the gold medal in the 50m freestyle and added a silver over 200m for good measure. She was joined at the top of the podium by Lizzie Simmonds who won the 200m backstroke with ease, while there were also a silver medal and a relay bronze for the British Team.
Halsall took the one length dash by a comfortable margin of 0.53 seconds posting 25.28 and erasing the five year old Championship record in the process. She had bounced back from disappointment in the 200m earlier in the session where a gutsy 2:01.93 fell just 0.3s shy of gold which went to Spain’s Mirela Belmonte Garcia.
Simmonds had a significantly more comfortable winning margin in her 200m event, cruising home some three and a half seconds clear of the silver medal winner in a time of 2:12.78. Despite being a crushing win for the Lincoln swimmer, who will be back next year to defend her title, it was well off the Championship record of 2:10.69 held by the great Hungarian Krisztina Egerszegi.
Meanwhile in the girls 100m butterfly, Jemma Lowe repeated her silver medal winning performance form 2005 as she came home in 1:00.74, less than a quarter of a second behind the Hungarian winner Dara. Jess Dickons finished fourth.
The final medal winning performance of the evening was as surprise package from the boys medley relay tame of Marco Loughran on the backstroke, Max Partridge on the breaststroke leg, Christopher Chasser swimming the butterfly and Robbie Renwick, who anchored the team home. When Renwick hit the water the squad were in 5th place, but a strong split of 50.92 saw the team pip Denmark to the bronze by just 0.16s.
Elsewhere, Jessica Dickons swam a PB of 2:18.80 in the Women’s 200m individual medley, but it was not quite enough for a medal and she finished in 4th. Helena Thornton finished 6th with a time of 2:20.18. In the Men’s 200m breaststroke Andrew Rodgie recorded 2:18.16 giving him 7th spot while Renwick finished 8th in 51.62 in the men’s 100m freestyle and Alexandra Warren was 7th in the women’s 100m breaststroke when she recorded 1:12.48. In the men’s 100m backstroke, Loughran was 8th in 58.21.
The overall team haul of seven gold, five silver and two bronze represents Britain’s best ever performance away from this country.