Brits finish with a flourish at Junior Worlds
The British Gas GBR Swimming Team concluded the final day of racing at FINA World Junior Championships in Dubai with an impressive silver in the 4x100m Medley Relay to take their medal tally to seven.
The quartet was led out by Jessica Fullalove (City of Manchester) who set up Sophie Taylor (City of Leeds) in the leading pack.
Taylor kept the Brits in the medal position before Guildford’s Emma Day and Plymouth Leander’s Grace Vertigans secured the silver.
And the team were delighted to finish with a medal.
“We’re all just buzzing,” said Fullalove. “We all just gave it everything we’ve got and I’m so proud of all of us, getting a medal in the very last race of the meet.
“It was the end of a tough season but that will set us up for next year so we can all come back and train hard.”
Taylor said: “We really went for it and ended on a high. We all pulled together as a team to get fired up before the race. We smashed it.”
“This was the best race of the meet for us,” said Vertigans. “And the one we will remember the most from the week. We all got what we really wanted, a medal.”
Day said: “I’m really happy, I’m so glad we ended on high.”
The Russian’s took the gold in 4.04.48, with the Brits in 4.05.42 – both teams under the previous Championship Record. The USA took the bronze in 4.05.76.
James Guy topped off a fantastic season with a huge lifetime best to finish fourth in the 200m Butterfly final.
Having already collected a gold and two silver medals this week, Guy put in a huge last effort to come home in 1.58.80.
The race was won by Andrew Seliskar (USA) in 1.56.42 with silver going to Masato Sakai of Japan in 1.56.82 with Alexander Kudashev (Russia), just ahead of Guy in 1.58.57, to take the
“I’m so pleased, it’s been a long week so to finish off with a PB in what isn’t one of my main events is great,” said Guy. “I’m over the moon with that.
“I haven’t done much Fly this year. I was concentrating on my freestyle and trying to get into the World’s team so that time is a big bonus.
“I went in with an open mind, a medal would’ve been fantastic but I really wanted to get a PB.
“It is nice to finally be done but I will look back at this week and be really proud of what I’ve done. I have done what I wanted to do.
“My dad and mum have really supported me this year and I’m really grateful for that –they’ve helped me get to where I am today.”
Matthew Johnson finished in 13th place overall with a time of 2.01.41.
Derventio’s Molly Renshaw was an agonising 0.01 seconds outside the medals in the in the 200m Breaststroke, touching in 2.27.52 for fourth place.
The race winner Viktoriya Solnceva of the Ukraine took the gold in a new Championship Record of 2.23.12 but the battle for the minor medals went on the touch, with three finishers all within 0.05 seconds.
Anastasiya Malyavina (Ukraine) took silver in 2.27.46 with Silvia Guerra taking bronze in 2.27.51 with Renshaw, fourth.
“It was a close race and it was one of the fastest times I’ve done this season so I shouldn’t complain,” said Renshaw. “It was a tough race, she (Solnceva) just went on the third leg and I raced as hard as I could but I’m still disappointed.”
Sophie Taylor finished in seventh place in the morning heats in 2.31.79 but withdrew from the final.
Caleb Hughes of Hatfield was 11th place overall in the 1500m Freestyle, touching in 15.37.32.
“I just didn’t swim well, there wasn’t much in the tank,” he said. “But the relay was a real high for me this week.”
In total, the squad of 14 have won seven medals (one gold, four silvers and two bronze) and set 21 personal bests including two Championship Records and a British national record throughout the week.
Graeme Antwhistle, Head Coach for the meet said: “The finals tonight were very closely fought with two fourth positions, it’s always tough.
“But we couldn’t ask for more with James swimming a personal best and Molly missing out by 0.01 of a second.
“The relay team remained positive and individually proved their strengths battling hard for a silver medal to finish the night off on a high.
“We asked them to bounce back from last night and they responded with vigour.
“Overall the stats from the meet reflect positively for the team with 10 individual swimmer s leaving the meet with medals and we’ve had 21 personal best swims.
“On a personal note I’ve been proud to lead the team this week and I feel the swimmers can look forward to a bright future in the sport if they can take the positives from this meet and
learn from their experiences here.”
Mark Perry, Team Leader said: “That was another strong night where some of the swims didn’t go our way.
“We had two fourth places which are always difficult, but on the final relay the girls really raised their game and finished their meet on a real high for the whole team.
“It’s been a pleasure to work with such a professional group of young people and I’m sure we’ll be seeing good things from these swimmers in the future.”
Roll of honour:
• Gold: 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay – Matthew Johnson, Max Litchfield, Caleb Hughes, James Guy. (Championships Record)
• Silver: James Guy – 200m Freestyle
• Silver: James Guy – 400m Freestyle
• Silver: Sophie Taylor – 100m Breaststroke (British Record)
• Silver: 4 x 100m Medley Relay – Jessica Fullalove, Sophie Taylor, Emma Day, Grace Vertigans (Charlotte McKenzie and Georgina Evans – heat swim)
• Bronze: Sophie Taylor – 50m Breaststroke (PB)
• Bronze: Jessica Fullalove – 100m Backstroke