Duncan Scott On Fire: Downs British 200IM Record In Heats At European Championships


European Short-Course Championships

Glasgow, Day 3 Heats

Duncan Scott broke his second British record in as many days when he headed the 200IM heats in 1:52.33 and took down James Goddard‘s 2011 mark in the process on the third morning of the European Short-Course Championships in Glasgow.

The 22-year-old has been on scorching form at Tollcross International Swimming Centre: on Thursday he shattered James Guy‘s national mark in the 200m freestyle heats before going on to win silver in the evening and there was also a Scottish record in the 400IM before he withdrew from the final.

Today it was the shorter medley when a sizzling final 50m of 26.49 propelled him to the top of the field and 0.24secs inside the mark set by Goddard in Berlin eight years ago.

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Scott will be joined in the final by Joe Litchfield, younger brother of 400IM champion Max, who was the second Briton through in fifth in 1:53.93.

Tom Dean – seventh in 1:54.84 – and Litchfield snr, ninth in 1:55.01, the home swimmers to miss out due to the two per nation rule.

Andreas Vazaios, the 2017 silver medallist, who led Scott in their heat by 1.04secs going into the freestyle before the Briton’s blistering final leg, was second through in 1:52.38 ahead of Tomoe Zenimoto, who took bronze two years ago, in 1:53.74.

Defending champion Philip Heintz of Germany snuck in thanks to the plethora of Brits after finishing ninth.


Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Scott was unaware he had broken the British record as his plans for fast heat swimming with eyes on morning finals come Tokyo 2020 bore fruit.

So too was there a nod to the depth of quality in that event in home waters that necessitated a quick heat to ensure progression.

He told Swimming World:

“I am happy with that: my PB was 1:53.8 so it was good and it’s pretty fast to get back if you are British there.

“It’s tough: over the last couple of years we have got a lot of depth in that event now and Mark Szaranek is not even here and there are other boys too so it’s going to be a good battle at Olympic trials next year.

“We all know in the call room: it’s just the way it is I guess. I was in that position last year at Europeans when Max and Mark made it through.

“I think it’s a positive position to be in. We all go on similar training camps as well, all four of us were at Flagstaff in October and we were able to push each other in training which was fun. We all get on and it is good to be able to push each other.”

Goddard won the 2008 European short-course 200IM title and was also the 2010 Commonwealth champion in Delhi, India and is now often to be found high up in the stands commentating.

Scott paid tribute to “a great swimmer” before jokingly adding: “I am pretty sure he is a big Manchester City fan.

“The one thing that reminds me of him is he wore a blue cap in London (2012 Olympics) and everyone else wore a red cap.

“But I don’t think that is what he should be remembered for.”

It will be a first senior international final for Joe Litchfield who at 21 is three years younger than big brother Max.

He said: “Fortunately I came out on top this time with Duncan and I just hope I can go in the final tonight and swim fast. Just have fun really, there is no pressure on it. I am not expecting anything – I want to try and PB again and (see) where that puts me in the race. It’s a race – get in there, head to head with everyone and it will be a good race.”

Max has already come within touching distance of the Olympic podium with a fourth-place finish in the 400IM at Rio 2016, weeks after Joe became European 200IM junior champion.

The pair originally hail from Pontefract, a historic market town in West Yorkshire in the north of England, and they started their swimming careers at the Doncaster Dartes club.

It was almost over before it began for Joe who would swim around in circles but he persisted, theirs always a healthy sibling rivalry.

“It was fine. He was always the faster kid and three years gap when you are young is quite a bit so he obviously got really fast.

“As time has gone on I tend to have a bit more twitch than him so I have kind of caught him on the butterflies and 100s, I’ve been similar times as him. As we are getting older it is just becoming a battle.

“It’s great – there is no bitterness between us, it’s all friendly, brotherly love but it’s fun racing. He’s another person to beat. I don’t think of him as my brother when we race, I think of him as someone I’ve got to beat.”

The pair went on to train at the City of Sheffield club based at Ponds Forge, Sheffield – the hometown of British Swimming head coach Bill Furniss – with both now at Loughborough where Joe has his eyes on eclipsing his older brother.

“Max in training is a machine: he is probably one of the fastest trainers in the world. Whenever I am in sets with him he will probably be ahead and they don’t expect me to beat him and when I do it’s obviously a great thing.

“In racing I am getting to the point where I have got to challenge him. As much as he is older I cant really use that as an excuse anymore.

“We are both seniors, we are both top of our game or getting there, we have both got to race each other and whoever comes out on top comes out on top at the time.”

Florent Manaudou Foto Gian Mattia D'Alberto/LaPresse 06 Ottobre 2019 Indianapolis, Stati Uniti sport nuoto 2019 ISL - International Swimming League, la seconda giornata a Indianapolis Nella foto: Florent Manaudou FRA Photo Gian Mattia D'Alberto/LaPresse October 6, 2019 Indianapolis, United States sport swimming 2019 ISL - International Swimming League, the second day in Indianapolis In the picture: Florent Manaudou FRA

Florent Manaudou – back in the aquatic arena Photo Courtesy: Gian Mattia D’Alberto/LaPresse

“Allez Florent” exhorted a voice in the stands as the Frenchman stood on the blocks preparing to make his return to individual competition in international waters for the first time since Rio 2016.

A little over 21 seconds later – 21.06 to be precise – and Florent Manaudou was spearheading the 50m freestyle field into tonight’s semi-finals.

It was the 29-year-old’s first appearance in a solo race since he made his comeback in March almost three years after taking a break from the sport.

Manaudou led off the French mixed 4x50m medley relay squad as they finished fifth in a final won by Russia in a new world-record time on Thursday.

The Energy Standard swimmer’s last individual race was the Olympic 50m freestyle final in Rio where he finished second, 0.01secs behind Anthony Ervin.

Vladimir Morozov was second through in 21.08 with Maksim Lobanovski next in 21.17.

Manaudou told Swimming World: “It’s all good I think. It is good to be back for the championship, especially for European Championships, it’s great. Because I had my first European Short-Course Championships in France in 2012 so it is good memories.

“I missed the high-performance: I just played handball for three years and I really enjoy that. But the ultra-performance is something different and I like it.”

Margherita Panziera of Italy was 0.47 ahead of her nearest challenger as she booked her place in the 200m backstroke final in 2:02.88 ahead of Ukraine’s Daryna Zevina and 100m champion Kira Toussaint of the Netherlands.

Zsuzanna Jakabos led home a Hungarian one-two in the 200m butterfly with her time of 2:04.97 putting her in pole for the final ahead of Katinka Hosszu (2:05.14).

Martina Carraro tops the women’s 100m breaststroke rankings in 1:04.66 although there was no place for fellow Italian and 50m champion Benedetta Pilato who was locked out due to the two-per-nation rule with Arianna Castiglioni through in 1:05.06.

Arno Kamminga returned from winning the men’s 200m breaststroke title to head the 100 field in 56.71 with the Netherlands 4x50m freestyle quartet out in front in 1:35.66 ahead of Great Britain and Denmark.