PLYMOUTH Leander’s Joe Hulme finished second in the junior boys’ (EG) 100m backstroke final at the British Swimming Championships in London.
Hulme improved on his morning heat time to clock 55.79 seconds for the two length final, but he was unable to edge out Cockermouth’s Luke Greenbank, who touched in 55.33.
Hulme’s medal was Leander’s second success on the opening day of the championships, with double Commonwealth Games champion Ben Proud having won the 50m butterfly time trial in the morning.
Former Plymouth College pupil Joe Patching, who although now at university in America is competing for Leander in London, just missed out on a medal in the open 100m backstroke final.
Patching had qualified third fastest behind Commonwealth and European champion Chris Walker-Hebborn and British record holder Liam Tancock. They duly finished first and second in the final but Patching was pipped to bronze by Craig McNally. Patching swam 54.85 with McNally clocking 54.80.
There was an impressive performance from 15-year-old Plymouth College pupil Laura Stephens in the women’s 200m butterfly event.
Stephens was the top ranked 15/16 year-old in the heats and qualified eighth for the main final in 2:13.40.
But she knocked more than one-and-a-half seconds off that to clock 2:11.76 in a highly-competitive final that saw international stars Hannah Miley, Jemma Lowe and Aimee Willmott fill the top three spots. Stephens’ performance should secure her a place in the Great Britain team for this summer’s European Games.
There was also a sixth-place finish for fellow Leander teeanger Shauna Lee in a strong open 100m freestyle face.
Lee had qualified fifth fastest in the morning in 55.35. She was just outside that time in the final, clocking 55.53. The event was won by Siobhan-Marie O’Connor, who ended Fran Halsall’s seven-year dominance of the event. Halsall was second and Lauren Quigley third.
In the junior girls’ (EG) 100m freestyle final, Leander’s Emma England came fifth in 57.77, which improved on her heat swim of 57.94.
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