Swimming: Tancock slows up to miss medals

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The Independent Online

The European Championships were suspended two events before the end of last night's session after a terrific storm blew across the city here. The women's 200 metres backstroke final will now be tonight, the semi-finals of the 200m free this morning.

Liam Tancock and Matt Clay were hoping to win Britain's first medals of the week in the 100m backstroke, but Commonwealth gold has little currency in the Euro zone and despite turning in second place, Tancock finished fourth behind three world and Olympic medallists, with Clay in fifth. That both were close to the British record will be of no consolation.

It was the same story in the men's 100m breastroke, for so long a happy hunting ground for Britain. The Commonwealth champion Chris Cook finished fourth, the former world medallist James Gibson eighth. Russia's European record holder Raman Sloudnov marked his return from a long absence to win gold ahead of Norway's Alex Dale Oen and Oleg Lisogor of Ukraine.

Britain truly has a champion in the making, however. Kirsty Balfour is the fastest qualifier into the final of the 100m breastroke and the Scot was a class apart in both heats and semis. She is joined on the medal trail by her fellow Scot Gregor Tait, who was impressive in the 200m individual medley, as the Brits hope to bring home the hardware tonight.

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