Aquatics

SWIMMING: Success home and abroad for Plymouth Leander and Mount Kelly

PLYMOUTH Leander and Mount Kelly College enjoyed another impressive day in the pool at competitions home and abroad.

At the World Aquatic Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, Mount Kelly’s Federico Burdisso and Leander’s Laura Stephens both impressed.

Burdisso, just 17, set a new personal best and Italian record to finish fourth in the fastest-ever men’s 200m butterfly race.

European medallist Burdisso was so close to making the podium in Gwangju but was just edged out for bronze by multi-world champion and 2012 Olympic gold medallist Chad le Clos.

The race was won by Hungarian Kristof Milak, who smashed Michael Phelps’ 10-year-old world record with a stunning 1:50.73 swim.

Second place went to Japan’s Daiya Seto, who touched in 1:53.86, with Le Clos clocking 1:54.15 and Burdisso 1:54.39.

Also in Gwangju, Plymouth Leander’s Laura Stephens reached her first global final by booking her place in the last eight of the women’s 200m butterfly.

Stephens swam 2:09.03 in the morning heats before 2:09.06 in the semi-finals to join Great Britain team-mate Alys Thomas in the Thursday’s showpiece event.

University of Plymouth student Stephens is thrilled to have made the final.

“Wow,” she said afterwards. “When I looked at that time I thought there was no way, but oh my goodness!

“I did want a faster time tonight but I’m in the final and I’ve got another shot, so wow. I was really happy just to make it back tonight (for the semis), but now I’ve got another swim I’m so excited.”

Stephens admitted she had been nervous going into the heats.

“It was a bit nerve-wracking but I just tried to focus on my own race and not worry about what was going on around me – I just put the blinkers on and got down and did it,” she said.

At the European Youth Olympic Festival in Baku, fellow Leander butterfly specialist Sophie Freeman reached another final and helped Great Britain win a relay medal.

Freeman, who had won bronze in the 200m butterfly on Tuesday, booked her place in the 100m butterfly final with a 1:01.06 semi-final swim. She also swam in the heats of the 4x100m women’s freestyle relay, which Great Britain won a silver medal in.

Meanwhile, Leander and Mount Kelly enjoyed a medal spree at the British Summer Swimming Championships in Glasgow on Wednesday.

Leander won four gold medals, while Mount Kelly picked up one gold, two silver and two bronzes.

Tom Beeley became senior British Summer champion in the men’s 200m butterfly. He clocked 1:59.01 to take victory in a final that included his Leander team-mate Freddy Clampett and Mount Kelly’s Ben Harrison.

Fellow Leander swimmer James Hart won the 15-year-old boys’ 200m butterfly in 2:04.00.

There were also titles for Plymouth’s Honey Osrin and Lana Broekhoven.

Osrin, who won a medal at the recent European Junior Championships and will compete at next month’s World Junior Championships, took victory in the 16-year-old girls’ 100m backstroke in 1:02.88.

Broekhoven topped the podium in the 16-year-old girls’ 200m breaststroke with a time of 2:33.00. Team-mate Lucia Grant just missed out on a medal with a fourth-placed finish in the same race.

There was a title for Mount Kelly’s Sandor Apponyi, who won the 16-year-old boys’ 50m breaststroke in 30.04.

Oliver Taverner came agonisingly close to making it a breaststroke double for Mount Kelly as he was second in the 17/18-year-old final, just 0.03 of a second off gold with a 28.39 swim.

Sam Dailley was another Mount Kelly swimmer to pick up a silver. His came in the 17/18-year-old boys’ 200m butterfly with 2:02.44.

There were bronze medals for team-mates Emily Haimes and Jamie O’Connor.

Haimes came third in the 17/18-year-old girls’ 50m butterfly in 27.46, while O’Connor made the podium in the 13/14-year-old boys’ 50 breaststroke with 31.78 seconds.

There were finals for fellow Mount Kelly swimmers Athena Clayson, Sam van der Stroo, Bella Hodges, Matthew Hargreaves, Robbie Jones, Imogen Lambert, Niamh Robinson, Caitlyn Fry and Sam Williamson, while Leander’s Tegan Drew, Hubert Gdaniec and Oriana Noel were also finalists on day two.

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