Jamieson comes so close to emulating legends

Michael Jamieson came close to emulating the great names of British breaststroke swimming last night as he claimed the host nation’s second medal in the pool.

The 23-year-old Scot came within a whisker of following David Wilkie, Duncan Goodhew and Adrian Moorhouse as Olympic breastroke champions.

Jamieson won silver in the 200 metres breaststroke after a final length shoot-out with Daniel Gyurta which forced the Hungarian to a new world record. Jamieson clocked the fourth fastest time in the world.

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There was a brave effort from the British 4x200m freestyle squad to double the medal tally as they came home in fifth.

Two Yorkshire swimmers were in the team, with Northallerton’s Beijing bronze medallist Jo Jackson bringing them home in a time of one minute 58.20 seconds after Rotherham’s Becky Turner swam the second leg in one minute 57.39 seconds.

But there was further disappointment for Rotherham’s Joe Roebuck who finished seventh in his semi-final of the 200m individual medley, bringing his three-race Olympic debut to an end.

Jemma Lowe was a highly-creditable sixth in the 200m butterfly as China’s Jiao Liuyang added the Olympic title to the World Championship gold she won last year.

Lowe had squeezed into the final in eighth place but last night she gave it a real go, turning third at halfway and battling down the final length to touch in two minutes 06.80 seconds.

Fran Halsall was fifth fastest qualifier for tonight’s 100m freestyle final.

The 22-year-old had been distinctly unimpressed by her performance in the heats but 53.77 last night saw her through.

Jamieson had lowered the British record twice en route to the 200m breaststroke final to become the eighth fastest swimmer in the event’s history.

The Glasgow-born swimmer said earlier this year he believed a time of around two minutes and eight seconds would be required to win a medal.

Third at the final turn, Jamieson and Gyurta went head to head over the last 50m with the Athens silver medallist lowering Christian Sprenger’s world mark by 0.03secs to two minutes 07.28.

Jamieson clocked 2mins 07.43secs – the fourth fastest time in history.

Jamieson said: “I am so delighted. I knew I had a little bit more to give. It’s so much easier with the crowd behind you.

“I’ve had so many messages it has been unbelievable. I was desperate to get on the podium to repay them.

“I know how strong his last 50 is. I tried to stay on his shoulder for the first 100. I just gave everything for the last 50.”

Bath ITC team-mate Andrew Willis was eighth in 2:09.44.

Gyurta’s victory put paid to Kosuke Kitajima’s hopes of becoming the first male swimmer ever to win the same event at three consecutive Games, the Japanese athlete won the breaststroke double at both Athens and Beijing.

However, he was fourth last night and the only man who can now achieve the feat is Michael Phelps who can secure three consecutive 100m butterfly titles.

Kitajima’s countryman Ryo Tateishi was third in 2:08.29.

Asked if someone had told him he would do this last week, Jamieson said: “I don’t know if I’d have believed them to be honest. I knew I had a bit left after last night, I ran out of pool space a bit at the end there but I’m absolutely delighted with the silver.”

Willis had set a new personal best and English record of 2:08.47 in yesterday’s semi-finals.

He said: “I would like to have gone quicker but it was a great experience just being in the race.”

The 21-year-old paid tribute to his team-mate with whom he trains under Dave McNulty, saying: “Michael deserves it, I’m really happy for him.

“He’s capable of great things and we’ve seen that today.”