Swimming: Simmonds takes gold in British one-two

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Lizzie Simmonds and Gemma Spofforth claimed a one-two for Great Britain in the 200 metres backstroke at the European Championships in Budapest yesterday.

Liam Tancock got the evening session off to a good start for the British team when he took the bronze medal in the 100m backstroke, despite only scraping into the final when Markus Rogan withdrew, before the two women dominated over four lengths of the pool on the second day in Hungary.

Simmonds, aged just 19, led from the start, establishing a body-length lead after the first turn and at the halfway point was under European record time.

Spofforth, the world champion over 100m, made inroads in the second part of the race, moving through to second at halfway but she could not threaten Simmonds, who won in 2min 7.04sec – 1.21sec ahead.

The Loughborough swimmer was fifth at last summer's World Championships and she has had a superb 2010, heading the world rankings and enjoying victories across Europe.

Simmonds said: "I knew with the way I am swimming races at the moment I had to go out and give it everything from the start. I knew Gemma was going to go pretty fast, it was never going to be an easy race.

"There was a lane between us. I couldn't really see her, it was just about getting out there and giving it the best I could."

Tancock had finished ninth in the 100m backstroke semi-finals on Monday but he had an unexpected reprieve when Rogan pulled out.

Swimming from lane eight the world 50m champion had a good start and held his form throughout to touch third in 53.86sec, with Camille Lacourt heading a French one-two in a European record of 52.11sec ahead of Jeremy Stravius.

Fran Halsall was third-fastest through to the 100m freestyle final in 54.16sec, although Amy Smith missed out in 12th.

Robbie Renwick was fourth into the 200m freestyle final, while Joe Roebuck was fifth-fastest into the 200m individual medley final.

Therese Alshammar won the 50m butterfly, Rafael Munoz took the men's equivalent and Alexander Dale Oen took the 100m breaststroke.