Two gold medals, one silver and two bronze saw British Swimming sign off from the European Championships with their most successful night of the event, featuring victories in the Women’s 400m Freestyle and Relay.
Despite the fact that the team is focused on their Commonwealth Games campaign, they showed their strongest side yet coming away from the Championships with an impressive 18 medal haul – smashing a previous 13 medal British record.
Double Olympic Champion Becky Adlington was back on the top step of the podium after a thrilling Women’s 400m Freestyle victory coming in at 4:04.56. She showed her strong finish and desire for victory as she swam with composure and waited to dispatch Denmark’s Lotte Friis who took bronze in 4:07.10 and then in the final 50m overhauled eventual silver medallist Ophelie Cyriell Etienne of France who claimed the silver in 4:05.40.
"That meant so much to me," said Adlington. “It's better to come back here smiling than crying like I did after the disappointment of 800m…Everybody's expecting so much of me, I don't want to let people down but I let myself down when I think about everybody else being let down."
Joanne Jackson, another of England’s Commonwealth hopefuls, took fifth place in 4:09.14.
The Women’s 4x100 Medley (all English) Relay team , Gemma Spofforth, Fran Halsall, Kate Haywood, and Amy Smith, delivered another European Gold title to enhance Britain’s greatest European performance my a massive margin, after the Russian team was disqualified for an early take over. The team came home in 3:59.72, just outside their Championship Record of 3:59.33, Sweden touched for the silver in 4:01.18 and Germany took the bronze in 4:03.22.
With six golds, six silvers and six bronzes, British Swimming finished third in the medals table behind Russia (7-4-1) and table-toppers France (8-7-6).
Success was also had in the Paralympic Swimming events with England’s Double Paralympic Champion Eleanor Simmonds, who knocked an impressive four seconds off her world record in the S6 400m Freestyle with a time of 5:27.64.
“I am so shocked with that,” Simmonds said. “The world record was always the aim for me but I didn’t expect to take that much of a chunk off it. I didn’t get a PB at the British Champs so I was hoping for it here.
“The plan for the race was to just go out as hard as I could. In the race I felt that I was racing it on my own and when I turned around to see that I had won it with a PB I was so happy.”
All in all it was a very successful campaign for our English Swimmers and one which will stand them in good stead to bring home Gold from Delhi in two months time.