ANTWERP, Belgium, January 25. WITH British Swimming electing to send a full team to the Speedo Flanders Cup, not many other international representatives had a chance to collect podium spots this evening as the Brits ran roughshod through the competition.
The meet kicked off with Great Britain’s Jazmin Carlin demonstrating that she’s handling a coaching change well as she smoked the field in the women’s 800-meter freestyle with an 8:26.12. Iron Lady Katinka Hosszu, who is slated to swim in 16 events this weekend, took second-place money with an 8:40.90 in a touchout against Great Britain’s Eleanor Faulkner. Faulkner just missed making it a GBR 1-2 with a third-place time of 8:40.99.
Great Britain’s Fran Halsall became the first woman to crack 25 seconds early this year in the women’s 50-meter free as she topped the event in 24.67 in what proved to be a GBR top-four sweep. Amy Smith (25.17), Sian Harkin (25.55) and Eloise Barber (25.93) finished second through fourth as part of a huge British contingent taking part in the meet.
Great Britain kept on rolling in the men’s 50-meter free with a 1-2 finish. Ben Proud hit the wall in 22.55 for the win, while Adam Brown claimed second-place honors in 22.71. Pieter Timmers of Belgium racked up a third-place finish with a 22.77.
Another event, and another dominant British outing as Sophie Allen raced her way to a 1:09.34 to 1:09.44 victory against compatriot Molly Renshaw in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke. Danielle Lowe earned third with a 1:09.78 in what proved to be a close call with Sweden’s Joline Hostman (1:09.85) and Israel’s Amit Ivri (1:09.88) all breaking 1:10.
Belgium’s Louis Croenen broke up the British roll with a 1:57.82 to 1:57.96 win against Serbian Velimir Stjepanovic in the men’s 200-meter fly. Roberto Pavoni of Great Britain rounded out the top three in 1:58.92. Hosszu, meanwhile, earned a second podium with a 2:09.35 time to win the women’s 200-meter fly. Lowe took second in 2:09.96, while Great Britain’s Elena Sheridan touched thrid in 2:11.68.
Britain got back on track in the men’s 400-meter free with a 1-2-3. Nicholas Granger won in 3:51.56 with Robbie Renwick taking second in 3:51.70. Stephen Milne nailed down third in 3:53.09. Britain then turned in a top-five sweep in the women’s 50 back. Georgia Davies won in 27.80, whlie Lauren Quigley (28.28), Halsall (28.46), Elizabeth Simmonds (28.80) and Jessica Fullalove (29.26) made up the rest of the top five.
Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh earned some prize money with a 2:02.01 to win the men’s 200-meter IM, while Pavoni (2:02.54) and Ieuan Llyod (2:03.48) comprised the rest of the podium for Great Britain. Aimee Willmott then cruised to victory in the women’s 400-meter IM with a 4:33.64. Teammates Hannah Miley (4:37.67) and Lowe (4:43.90) placed second and third.
In a headline battle, Great Britain’s Christopher Walker-Hebborn knocked off USA’s David Plummer, 54.33 to 55.16, in the men’s 100-meter back. Plummer, who has had some issues with slipping on the start in the past year, took to Twitter to complain about another slippery start tonight. Israel’s Jonatan Kopelev took third in 55.79.
In a nearly all-British finale, GBR went 1-7 in the women’s 200-meter free. Siobhan-Marie O’Connor won in 1:58.05 with Carlin taking second in 1:58.45. Anne Bochmann rounded out the top three in 1:58.69. No one else cracked 2:02 in the finale.
Ross Murdoch threw down a 1:00.13 in the men’s 100-meter breast, nearly cracking Daniel Gyurta’s 2013 meet record of 1:00.12. Christopher Steeples took second in 1:00.69, while Adam Peaty placed third in 1:00.73.
Timmers returned in the men’s 200-meter free to lead a Belgian bounceback event. Timmers won in 1:48.59 with Emmanuel Vanluchene (1:48.65) and Glenn Surgeloose (1:48.66) taking second and third. Additionally, Dieter Dekoninck earned fourth in 1:49.19 for Belgium as well.
Simmonds popped a 2:11.04 to win the women’s 200-meter back, while Quigley (2:11.20) and Charlotte McKenzie (2:14.78) also claimed podium spots with second and third, respectively. Proud doubled up with a 23.69 to win the men’s 50-mete fly, while Adam Barrett placed second in 24.23. Cseh picked up another podium with a third-place 24.63.