Successful start in Herning brings three medals for ambitious Britain

Michael Jamieson
Michael Jamieson
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Siobhan-Marie O’Connor and Sophie Allen claimed silver and bronze in the 200 metres individual medley as Great Britain finished the first day of the European Short-Course Championships in Herning with three medals.

O’Connor and Allen both train under Dave McNulty at the National Centre for Swimming at the University of Bath and their team-mate in the south west, Jemma Lowe, also made the podium, taking bronze in the 200m butterfly as Mireia Belmonte Garcia set a new European record.

Michael Jamieson – also of Bath – set a new British record in qualifying for the final of the 100m breaststroke, while Fran Halsall was on fire as she returned to the 100m freestyle – after concentrating on the 50m events this year – to make today’s final in pole position.

Despite only turning 18 at the end of November, O’Connor is already a veteran of an Olympics and two long-course world championships, which are held in 50m pools as opposed to the 25m short-course events in Denmark.

Yesterday she was in the lane alongside Katinka Hosszu, long-course world champion and utterly dominant in the autumn FINA World Cup series.

Hosszu led from the off but O’Connor was in close attention and although the Briton slipped to third with 50m to go, she hit back to finish second in two minutes 06.73 seconds, a personal best by 2.08secs.

Lowe went out fast in the 200m butterfly and although no-one could live with the pace of Olympic and world silver medallist Belmonte Garcia, the visibly tiring Welshwoman called on every last bit of her reserves to touch in third in 2:04.51.

Jamieson was fifth into today’s 100m breaststroke final, his time of 57.89 bettering James Gibson’s 2008 British record by 0.02secs.

Andrew Willis, also of Bath, posted a new personal best time of 58.38 but it was not enough to reach the final, finishing 12th.

Halsall, of Loughborough, led from the gun in the 100m freestyle semis to touch in 52.32.