Plymouth Leander’s Stephens just misses out on winning European medal

PLYMOUTH Leander’s Laura Stephens agonisingly missed out on winning her first major individual senior international medal on Friday night.

Stephens took fourth place for Great Britain in the women’s 200m butterfly event at the European Short Course Championships in Glasgow.

The 20-year-old was to the fore through the opening few lengths and remained in the mix the whole way but was just edged out of a medal in the final straight.

She was only beaten by Hungarian legend Katinka Hosszu, who won gold, Italian Ilaria Bianchi, who took silver, and another Hungarian Zsuzsanna Jakabos, who claimed bronze.

Stephens clocked 2:06.05, which was more than a second quicker than she had swam to win her heat in the morning.

“It was better than this morning – I managed to move it on, which is a positive and, I’ll speak to my coach, but I think my skills have improved,” said Stephens.

“But fourth is a bit annoying. It would have been nice to have made the podium and maybe swum a bit of a faster time, nearer to my best, but I’ll keep on pushing.”

Stephens will swim in the 100m butterfly heats, which take place on Saturday.

Meanwhile, while Stephens is representing Great Britain in Scotland many of her Leander team-mates and swimmers from other Plymouth and west Devon clubs are competing at the Swim England National Winter Championships. Those championships end on Sunday and Sports Gazette will do a full round-up when they finish.

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