Leander’s Stephens smashes her PB on her way to silver at the British Championships

PLYMOUTH Leander’s Laura Stephens smashed her personal best to win the silver medal in the 200m butterfly event at the British Championships in Glasgow on Thursday evening.

Stephens pushed Commonwealth Games champion and European bronze medallist Alys Thomas all the way in a thrilling final.

The pair were neck-and-neck until the last couple of metres when Thomas just got ahead and touched in 2:07.40, with Stephens finishing in 2:07.96, which was nearly two seconds in front of Emily Large in third (2:09.89). Former Plymouth College pupil Charlotte Atkinson came fourth in 2:09.91.

Stephens had never even been under 2:09 before so to go sub-2:08 was a massive moment for the city student.

She was just 0.07 seconds off the consideration time for this summer’s World Championships in South Korea, but British Swimming can select up to eight ‘wild-card’ picks.

Stephens’ time on Thursday evening ranks her in the world’s top eight.

Stephens was the first swimmer from the region to win a senior medal on the opening three days of the British Championships. However, junior athletes from Leander, Mount Kelly and Dartmoor Darts have all enjoyed plenty of success at Tollcross.

Leander 15-year-old Sophie Freeman joined Stephens in the senior 200m butterfly final on Thursday, where she finished seventh in 2:13.43. Freeman had won the junior 50m butterfly final on Tuesday in 27.96 seconds.

Mount Kelly juniors Oliver Taverner and Harry Noble also reached senior finals.

Taverner finished seventh in a strong 50m breaststroke final, which was won by world record holder Adam Peaty. The Mount Kelly swimmer clocked 28.49 in the final, having swam a lifetime best of 28.34 seconds in the heats.

Nobel reached the senior men’s 50m backstroke final, where he clocked a big PB of 26.08 seconds.

Dartmoor Darts’ 15-year-old Cameron Williams impressed on the opening day by winning the junior 50m breaststroke final ahead of swimmers three years older than him. He clocked 1:04.16 to take the win.

Williams then backed that up by taking third place in the 100m breaststroke junior final on Wednesday with a 29.63 second swim.

Leander’s Honey Osrin is enjoying a fine championships. In the opening three days she has won three junior finals.

On the first day she touched first in the junior women’s 200m freestyle in 2:01.62. She then followed that up on Wednesday by winning the junior women’s 100m backstroke final in 1:02.54 and then on Thursday she took the honours in the junior 50m freestyle final in 26.37 seconds.

Mount Kelly’s Alex Mason won both the junior men’s 100m backstroke (57.05) and 50m backstroke (26.39) finals, while 17-year-old team-mate Macy Lawrence produced an impressive display to take second in the 50m freestyle transition (under-23) final in 26.16 seconds.

Fellow Mount Kelly swimmer Sam Dailley took victory in the junior 200m butterfly final with a 2:03.39 swim. Leander’s Plymouth University student Tom Beeley made the senior final in that event, where he came sixth in 2:00.80.

Dailley was also third in Thursday’s junior 100m freestyle event with a 51.33 second swim.

Leander’s Adam Chillingworth was third with 1:02.71 in the transition men’s 100m breaststroke final, while team-mate Lucia Grant came second in the junior women’s 50m breaststroke final (33.25).

The championships continue at Tollcross until Sunday evening.

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