Brits denied podium in thrilling breastroke final

3rd August 2013

British Gas GBR Swimming teammates Andrew Willis and Michael Jamieson were agonisingly close to their first World medals as they finished fourth and fifth in the 200m Breaststroke at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona.
The British Gas ITC Bath training partners clocked 2:09.13 and 2:09.14 but were beaten in the dash to the wall by Finland’s Matti Mattsson who took bronze in 2:08.95 behind Hungary’s defending champion Daniel Gyurta (2:07.23) and Germany’s Marco Koch (2:08.54).
Willis and Jamieson were competing in a major final for the third consecutive season, having finished eighth and fifth respectively on their Worlds debuts in 2011 before Jamieson took silver and Willis eighth at London 2012 last year.
While Willis secured his best finish on the World stage in Barcelona, the 22-year old insisted it should have been his first major medal, having won his heat and semi final to qualify third fastest in 2:09.11.
“There are no real excuses,” said Willis. “That should have been quicker.
“I’ve changed my mindset this year to try and get medals.
“Yes, I was eighth last time and eighth at the Olympics as well and I’m fourth this time but I wanted to medal and I’ve just missed out so I’m a bit gutted really.”
Jamieson’s season has been interrupted by a torn bicep injury and while he managed to qualify with gold at June’s British Championships, he was adamant he didn’t have the fitness to reach the podium in Spain.
“I couldn’t have done much more there,” said Jamieson. “I’ve had a nightmare last couple of months. I swam a 2:07 a month ago and I said then it was a real surprise because that wasn’t me back to my best.
“But I think that was me right at the end of my real fitness levels where I could tolerate the injury and it hadn’t had as much of an effect then.
“My real strength is my back end 50 and that’s down to fitness and unfortunately I don’t have it here. In the last couple of weeks I’ve been losing fitness.
“You’ve got to deal with injuries on the way and unfortunately this has just come at the wrong time.”
Craig McNally marked his World Championship debut with a Scottish record to finish sixth in the 200m Backstroke final.
The 20-year old Warrender swimmer was just 0.09 seconds shy of James Goddard’s British record as he clocked 1:55.67 from lane one.
USA’s defending champion Ryan Lochte (1:53.79) ultimately took gold ahead of Poland’s Radoslaw Kawecki (1:54.24) and USA’s Olympic champion Tyler Clary (1:54.64).
But having won his first British title in June, the young Brit looked right at home amongst the world’s elite.
“I’m really happy with that,” said McNally, who finished 11th for Scotland on his Commonwealth debut three years ago.
“That’s more than half a second off my PB and I’ve got faster through each stage which is exactly what I came here to do.
“I looked back on my races from the trials and races earlier this competition and there were improvements I could make.
“It worked quite well with a double taper. It gives me confidence from the first meet with how fast I can go. It shows what sort of shape I’m in for the next meet.”
The British men's 4x200m Freestyle Relay quartet improved their heat time by a full second as they finished eighth in the final.
James Guy (Millfield) lowered his British Age Group (17yrs) record as he opened in 1:47.19 before Robbie Renwick (City of Glasgow), Jak Scott (British Gas ITC Stirling) and Joshua Walsh (British Gas ITC Stirling) brought the quartet home in 7:12.00.
In her first event of the week, Fran Halsall soared into the 50m Butterfly final.
Having lowered her British record to 25.69 in the heats, the Loughborough Sprint Squad swimmer eased through her semi-final in 25.90 from lane four to progress third fastest to tomorrow’s final.
“I was a little bit nervous this morning because it was my first swim but it gave my confidence a bit of a boost,” said Halsall, who is Commonwealth champion over 50m Fly.
“Tonight I just span a little bit on my first strokes but I know I can put that right tomorrow.
“The 50m Freestyle is still my focus. Tonight was just about getting a lane for the final and I’m looking forward to trying to get in the 50m Free final tomorrow.”
City of Liverpool’s Michael Rock also made semis in Barcelona, finishing 16th in the 100m Butterfly
The British record holder qualified 10th in 52.13 from the morning heats but dropped his ranking after a 52.55 effort in his semi.
Jazz Carlin was 0.07 seconds shy of reaching her first World 800m Freestyle final as she finished ninth in the heats.
The British Gas ITC Swansea swimmer, who was fourth in the 400m Free and ninth in the 1500m Free earlier in the meet, touched fourth in her heat in 8:27.48 with Australia’s Chloe Sutton sealing the final qualification spot in 8:27.41.
City of Sheffield Ellie Faulkner was also in action in the 800m Freestyle heats, finishing 17th overall in 8:36.04 while 18-year old Lauren Quigley (Stockport Metro) finished 25th from the 200m Backstroke heats in 2:14.27.
Finally, Hatfield's Adam Brown and Plymouth Leander's Ben Proud were desperately shy of the qualification spots from the 50m Freestyle heats as they finished 17th and 18th in 22.30 and 22.31 respectively, with Romania’s Norbert Trandafir progressing 16th in 22.25.