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golden finale for youth olympians

Britain’s Youth Olympians wrapped up a superb team performance on the final day of competition in Ligano, as their medal haul swelled to a grand total of 18, including an impressive 12 golds. Ellen Gandy and Lizzie Simmonds both took their 5th gold medals while Ceri Unwin took her 4th as the meet came to a close with Britain well on top of the medal table.
Gandy had again started her final as fastest qualifier, this time in the 200m butterfly event, and duly took the gold medal in a time f 2:14.60 comfortably ahead of runner up Carla Campo of Spain. Later i the session the Beckenham swimmer was back in the water as part of the girls medley relay team, who dominated their final, sweeping to gold five seconds clear of runners up Germany. That victory gave Gandy and Lizzie Simmonds their 5th gold medal finish where they were joined on the podium by Helena Thornton and Lauren Collins, who herself was taking her third title. Thornton meanwhile had earlier placed 7th in the final of the 100m breaststroke.
Unwin is yet another to be in impressive from this week, having already won the 200m and 400m freestyle events. She made it a freestyle treble in the 800m event as she cruised to a comfortable victory by ten seconds over her nearest rival, having swum steadily away from the field throughout the race.
The boys team have been in the shadow of their female counterparts this week but have still produced some high quality performances. On the last day it was Guildford City’s Marco Loughran and Jonathan Turner-Cook form Nova Centurion who took medals. Loughran took silver on the touch over 100m backstroke while Turner-Cook was the bronze medallist in the 400m Individual Medley, holding off a strong challenge form Spain’s Sergio Garcia on the closing 100m freestyle. In the other boy’s final of the night, Hatfield’s Adam Brown recorded a 7th place in the final of the 200m freestyle.
Eighteen medals represents a total one shy of the target at the beginning of the meet but equals the number won by the team in Paris two years ago. What is encouraging is the fact that 12 of those medals were gold, a greater proportion than in 2003, although 8 of the 9 individual titles were won by just three swimmers in Simmonds, Gandy and Unwin. Nonetheless it was an excellent overall performance and one which gave Bill Sweetenham great cause for optimism, particularly in the professionalism and racecraft displayed by the young squad.
“The team as a whole have out-turned their opposition and shown great pacing skills in winning their events as well as utilising their strength in the back end of their races” Britain’s National Performance director said “The combination of very talented athletes and strong home-coaching programmes have paid dividends at this meet.”
“The athletes at the EYOF have set high standards for both the youth and senior teams to emulate in the next two weeks.”