British Swimming finish with best medal haul, medley men strike GB record
The British Swimming team secured their most successful medal haul at a Worlds Championships, with nine medals, five of which were gold.
However, the British men’s 4x100m Medley Relay quartet were narrowly denied a fairytale ending as they finished fourth on the final day of the Kazan 2015 World Championships.
But in one of the most thrilling races of the week, the Brits missed out on a 10th medal by 0.17 seconds, despite setting a British record 3:30.67 in the final.
The top four finished within a second of each other in a desperate sprint for the wall with Great Britain’s Chris Walker-Hebborn, Adam Peaty, James Guy and Ben Proud ultimately settling for fourth behind USA (3:29.93), Australia (3:30.08) and France (3:30.50).
But with Peaty and Proud only 20 years old and Guy still only 19, Peaty insists the Brits have age on their side as they look for improvement at next year’s Olympic Games.
“If you look how young this team is, I think it’s going to be really good over the next few years,” said Peaty, who has won three gold medals in Russia.
“We’ve got a lot of growth to do and I think we’re going to improve.
“It’s been my first Worlds and I know now that when it comes to a World Championships or hopefully an Olympic Games, it’s not about the occasion – it’s about racing and executing that race plan perfectly.”
Guy added: “I’ve been on form all week and I’ve done the 100m Fly in the past so I felt like I could put a good time in on that leg tonight.
“I was buzzing to be on the team with these guys and it was a great race. We finished fourth but next year we can do so much better and we’ve got so much still to gain.”
Hannah Miley also finished fourth on the final day in Russia, competing in the 400m Individual Medley.
And while the Commonwealth champion sliced more than a second off her heats time, she found herself two seconds off the podium pace as she came home in 4:34.79 with Canada’s Emily Overholt taking bronze on 4:32.52 behind Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (4:30.39) and USA’s Maya Di Rado (4:31.71).
“My time at Commies would have definitely got me in amongst the medals there but it’s one of those things where you just have to park it and move on to next year,” said Miley, who finished fifth in the 200m Individual Medley and 14th in the 200m Butterfly earlier in the week.
“The heat wasn’t as quick as what I wanted it to be so I might have swum too many events this week.
“The main focus is Rio though – fourth is better than where I finished in Barcelona so that’s one positive moving forward.”
Aimee Willmott clocked 4:38.75 to finish seventh in the same event while Dan Wallace (4:13.77) and Roberto Pavoni (4:13.81) were sixth and seventh respectively in the men’s 400m Individual Medley final.
It was a busy evening session for the Brits with Liam Tancock (24.88) and Francesca Halsall (24.51) touching seventh in the 50m Backstroke and 50m Freestyle finals respectively while Stephen Milne emerged from his debut World Championships with a fifth place in the 1500m Freestyle.
Having finished seventh in the 800m Freestyle earlier in the Championships, the 21-year-old improved his ranking over the longer, Olympic distance, coming home in 14:58.62 as Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri (14:39.67), USA’s Connor Jaeger (14:41.20) and Canada’s Ryan Cochrane (14:51.08) took the medals.
“The week been a very good experience,” said Milne. “I’ve enjoyed the occasion. British Swimming has done the best we’ve ever done and I’m happy with my performance.
“It’s my first World Champs and now it will be back to training and evaluating the year then I’ll try and move things on for next year.”
The only other British finalists of the night were the women’s 4x100m Medley Relay quartet of Lauren Quigley, Siobhan-Marie O’Connor, Rachael Kelly and Francesca Halsall who touched sixth in the final but were disqualified after the race.
But while they have enjoyed unprecedented success in Russia, British Swimming Head Coach Bill Furniss insists the swimmers will not be resting on their laurels in the Olympic year.
“We’ve got the depth and another pleasing thing is the percentage of people on the team who have swum season’s bests at this meet,” said Furniss.
“It’s a massive improvement on what we’ve done at previous Worlds or Olympics and that’s why we’ve been so successful.
“But we’ve got to move it on again. My message to the swimmers tonight will be to have a short rest but you’ve got to be on it. You’ve got to be totally focused and we’ve got to improve again. The rest of the world will and that’s performance sport – if you relax for one second, you’re passed.
“We’re racing a lot more, we’re tougher to beat and we’ve got some good competitions next year. We’ll swim the Olympic team at the European Championships in London and use it as a preparation meet.
“We’ll just try and do what we’re doing at the moment, only a little bit better.”