Golden start for Brits in Eindhoven
The British Gas GBR Para-Swimming Team secured three golds, three silvers and two bronze medals on the first day of competition at the IPC Swimming European Championships in Eindhoven.
The first gold was won by Ellie Simmonds who claimed her third European S6 400m Freestyle title in a row.
The world record holder dominated the final and carved out over a three second lead at the 250m mark.
She swam a controlled race and when she touched for the gold she held almost a seven second lead.
Simmonds finished in 5:28.31 for her first gold medal of the competition ahead of Ukraine’s Yelyzaveta Mereshko who touched in 5:35.08. Bronze went to Iceland’s Thelma Bjornsbottir in 6:03.67.
“I am pretty happy with that,” Simmonds said. “It wasn’t the best of times for me but to come to my third Europeans and get a gold medal is pretty pleasing.
“I also saw on twitter that it was my 25th gold medal at any event of my career so I am pretty chuffed with that and tonight it is nice to be supporting the team.”
The British Gas GBR Para-Swimming Team’s second gold went to Susie Rodgers in the S7 400m Freestyle.
The European record holder went out hard from the start and at the first turn she was already almost two seconds ahead.
Rodgers retained her European crown in a time of 5:22.74 which was 18 seconds ahead of Oxana Guseva (Russia) and Arianna Talamona (Italy). Guseva took silver in 5:40.87 and Talamona won bronze in 5:45.29.
“It’s really good to retain the title that I won a few years back,” Rodgers said. “It was quite an interesting field so I didn’t know how everyone was going to go but I enjoyed it.
“I had a race plan and I knew what I was going to do when I went in. It was a good time, it was about the same as the time I got in Berlin.”
Commonwealth silver medallist Stephanie Slater arrived in Eindhoven ready for action having impressed in Glasgow and didn’t disappoint with gold in the S8 100m Backstroke.
Having already knocked a second off her PB this morning, Slater lowered her mark by a further two seconds in the final.
Slater touched in a time of 1:17.42 – two seconds ahead of the rest of the field.
“I went out this morning nice and comfortable and I knew I had something left for that final,” Slater said. “Coming from the Commonwealth Games gave me even more confidence having won the silver medal there. It’s been a great start to the meet.
“It was a two second PB tonight after already knocking a second off this morning. I didn’t expect to go that fast to be honest as it’s not a main stroke of mine. Hopefully I can go even faster when I swim it next time.”
Silver went to Olesya Vladykina (Russia) in 1:19.57 and Kateryna Istomina (Ukraine) took bronze in 1:22.89.
World Champion Amy Marren secured her first European Championship medal with silver in the S9 50m Freestyle. She finished just behind Sarai Gascon (Spain) in a time of 30.00. Team-mate Claire Cashmore finished in sixth place in 31.10.
Fresh from winning bronze for Wales in Glasgow, Jack Thomas won his first European medal with silver in the S14 100m Backstroke after touching in 1:03.44. Aaron Moores finished just behind his team-mate in 1:03.50 for the bronze. Craig Harris finished in fifth place in a time of 1:06.23.
Multi-world medallist Andrew Mullen took the silver medal in the S5 100m Freestyle with a time of 1:18.44 – just 0.02 off his PB.
The women’s S14 100m Backstroke saw Jessica-Jane Applegate score her first medal of the competition with bronze in a time of 1:08.57. Chloe Davies just missed the medals after finishing in 1:08.83 for fourth place.
Rob Welbourn finished in fifth place with a time of 26.01 in the S10 50m Freestyle while Alice Tai lowered her PB to 29.61 in the women’s S10 50m Freestyle.
Matthew Wylie secured a time of 27.24 for eighth place in the S9 50m Freestyle.