silver lining for relay quartet

Britain’s men fought bravely in the final of the 4x200m freestyle but eventually succumbed to an Italian quartet who boasted greater strength in depth, leaving the home team to take the silver medal in a new British record time. There were no further medal successes on the penultimate night in Budapest but hopes remain of podium success on the final night as several swimmers progressed through their semi-finals.
The relay was always going to be a head to head battle between the British and Italian quartets, but the greater consistency of the Italians told with each of their 4 swimmers breaking the 1:48 barrier and outswimming their British counterparts on their way to a new European Record of 7:09.06. But nothing should be taken away from the team of David Carry (1:47.60) Simon Burnett (1:48.13) Andrew Hunter (1:48.73) and Ross Davenport (1:47.27) who lowered the British record by over a second to take Britain’s eighth medal of this meet. “We were aiming for the European Record, but to get the British Record by more than a second is good and shows we’re moving in the right direction,” said anchorman Davenport afterwards.
In the night’s most anticipated final, Poland’s Otilya Jedrzejczak won the battle of the 200m freestyle ahead of Germany’s Annika Liebs and French starlet Laure Manaudou in a time of 157.25. Britain’s Mel Marshall and Jo Jackson were juts outside their best to take 4th and 5th places, but watching from the stand Caitlin McClatchey must have been frustrated not to have been competing, knowing that her wining time from Melbourne would have been enough for gold here.
In the nights other finals, Todd Cooper looked to be in medal contention in the closing stages of the 100m butterfly only to tie up in the last few metres and fade to 6th place in a time of 53.24. Meanwhile, James Goddard struggled to reproduce his semi-final form as he came home in 6th in the 200m backstroke final. That title was taken by Russia’s Arkady Vyatchanin who set a new European Record of 1:55.30.
Both James Gibson and Darren Mew were off the pace in the 50m breaststroke final, despite improving from the semi-final times to take 5 and 7th spots.
From the night’s semi-finals, Kate Haywood qualified fastest into the 50m breast final, while Jess Dickons belied her age to set a new PB and qualify for the final of the 200m butterfly, aged just 15. Team-mate Terri Dunning faded after a promising heat and was out of the final placings in 10th. This week is all about the experience,” said Dickons. “It’s my first senior competition so to make the final and set a PB is great. My plan was to go out a 1:02 low and then bring it back as fast as possible over the last 100m. It’s my last race tomorrow so I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.” Fellow junior team member Fran Halsall just missed out in the 50m freestyle after finishing the semis in 9th place.