British women setting the standard in Budapest
Lizzie Simmonds and Gemma Spofforth completed an impressive one-two in the 200m backstroke on the second day of the European Swimming Championships in Budapest.
Simmonds dominated from the off, and despite Spofforth’s best efforts, completed a comfortable win in 2:07.04. The two Brits will now turn their attention to the 100m, where Spofforth holds the world record, but Simmonds will again go in as favourite after her early season victory over her compatriot at the British Championships.
Simmonds’ victory was Britain’s second of the competition after Hannah Miley picked up gold in the 400m individual medley on day one, beating home favourite Katinka Hosszu by three seconds.
Coupled with a silver medal in the 4x100m freestyle relay, the British women have shown that they are amongst the very best in Europe, however the same cannot be said for their male counterparts.
So far only Liam Tancock has won a medal, having picked up a bronze in the 100m backstroke on Tuesday, and only after a reprieve having originally missed out on the final.
Aside from Tancock, there are no standout male British swimmers, although Robbie Renwick and Joe Roebuck will both be competing in finals this evening, in the 200m freestyle and 200m IM respectively.
The stand-out performances of the championships so far have come from Norwegian Alexander Dale Oen, and Frenchman Camille Lacourt.
Dale Oen completed a hugely impressive win over 100m breastroke, becoming the fastest man in the world this year with a time of 59.20 seconds, finishing comfortably ahead of European record holder Hugues Duboscq.
In the 100m backstroke, however, France earned a one-two, with Lacourt producing a sensational swim to beat compatriot Jeremy Stravius. The Frenchman finished in 52.11, just seventeen hundredths off Aaron Peirsol’s world record, which was swum in one of the now banned polyurethane suits.
The pick of the events this evening looks to be the women’s 100m freestyle, where Fran Halsall will be hoping to beat Swedish starlet Sarah Sjoestroem. And the final event of the night should get the home crowd excited as the star of Hungarian swimming, Laszlo Cseh, starts as strong favourite for the 200m IM.