Laura Stephens Into 200 Fly Top Five In 2:07.04; Cameron Kurle Posts 1:46.62 200 Free In Glasgow

Laura Stephens
Laura Stephens: Photo Courtesy: British Swimming

Laura Stephens hurtled to fifth in the 200 fly rankings in a PB of 2:07.04 to go comfortably within the consideration time required to book a slot on the team for Tokyo at the second session of evening heats at the British Swimming Glasgow Meet.

Cameron Kurle produced a 200 free best of 1:46.62 to throw his hat in the ring for the 4×200 free relay while Adam Peaty and Molly Renshaw headed their respective 100 breaststroke races.

There was also a notable 400IM of 4:38.20 by Abbie Wood with Hannah Miley also through to Saturday morning’s final in a last attempt to make her fourth Olympics.

European silver medallist Kathleen Dawson went 27.67 in the 50 back to book a meeting with former British record holder Georgia Davies (27.92) with Scott Gibson heading the men’s event in 25.76 and Luke Greenbank also through.

The meet at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre mirrors the schedule comprising evening heats and morning finals the swimmers will be undertaking in Tokyo next month.

Stephens Flies Into World Top Five

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Laura Stephens: Photo Courtesy: British Swimming

Stephens came into Glasgow without having yet booked a trip to Tokyo following the British trials and then the European Championships in Budapest.

She won gold in Hungary in the women’s 4×100 medley relay, was sixth in the 200 fly in 2:09.42 and just missed out on the final of the 100.

It meant that Glasgow represented all or nothing in her bid to make her first Olympics and one she responded to in a manner that spoke of mental strength and the ability not to be physically drained by nerves.

Stephens – who celebrated turning 22 on Wednesday – split 29.04/1:01.97/1:34.15/2:07.04, a time that would have won silver in Budapest.

It also sent her 1.28 inside the consideration time of 2:08.32.

Alys Thomas (2:10.51) – already Tokyo-bound – and Keanna MacInnes (2:10.54) followed Stephens into the final.

2021 Rankings

2:05.44; Zhang Yufei (CHN), Chinese National Championships

2:06.50; Boglarka Kapas (HUN), European Championships

2:06.68; Hali Flickinger (USA), TYR Pro Swim Mission Viejo 2021

2:07.03; Yu Liyan (CHN), Chinese National Championships

2:07.04; Laura Stephens (GBR), British Swimming Glasgow Meet

The British Swimming selection policy states:

“Further consideration, subject to clauses 4.1, 4.2 and 5.8 will be given to athletes recording a time equal or better to the Table 1 time in the final (or senior ‘A’ final / final containing the fastest qualifiers for those meets with more than one final) at one of the designated consideration meets listed in Table 2.

“Achieving a time inside or equal to a Table 1 time does not guarantee a nomination.”

It continues:

“The GB Head Coach in consultation with the NPD shall use the consideration meets to assist their decision making however, performances at the consideration meets will only be used as a guide.”

By the detail of that policy it would seem that Stephens may have to again go inside 2:08.32 in Saturday morning’s final.

However, given they are all consideration times – rather than straight qualification marks – it means Stephens has firmly thrown her hat in the ring.

Furthermore, the policy was drawn up before the April trials when the Mare Nostrum legs in Canet and Barcelona were also due to be consideration meets as well as the Tollcross competition which was initially scheduled for 28-30 May.

All will become clear by Tuesday 8 June when the final nominations are made.

Jay Lelliott headed the men’s heats in 1:58.55 ahead of Ed Mildred (1:58.88) and Jacob Greenow (2:03.09).

Kurle Makes His Case

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Cameron Kurle; Photo Courtesy: Singapore Swimming Federation

The men’s 200 free has enormous strength in depth in Britain with 1:47.93 the cut-off for the final at the British trials.

The two individual places were secured by Duncan Scott and Tom Dean who hit 1:44.47 and 1:44.58 respectively at the British trials with the pair one-two in the rankings as the latter bypassed 1:45 entirely.

Kurle – who shares a flat with Scott – split 24.82/51.44/1:18.78/1:46.62 to qualify first for the final and put his name into the reckoning for the 4×2.

Joe Litchfield (1:47.04) and Calum Jarvis (1:48.10) were next swiftest with Dean, Scott, James Guy, Jacob Whittle and Matt Richards completing the field in 1:49.05.

Lucy Hope – who left Budapest with four gold relay medals – produced the sole sub-2min swim in the women’s race, booking lane four in 1:59.08.

Tamryn van Selm (2:01.01) and European individual bronze medallist Freya Anderson (2:01.03) were next through.

Peaty And Renshaw Lead The Way

Adam Peaty

Adam Peaty: Photo Courtesy: British Swimming

Ross Murdoch had the fastest time of 59.93 after three of the four 100 breaststroke heats with Peaty to come.

The Olympic champion – who completed the quadruple-quadruple at the recent European Championships – split 27.45/31.55 to secure lane four in 59.00.

Murdoch booked lane five with European bronze medallist James Wilby third in 1:00.38.

Renshaw and Sarah Vasey filled the 100 breaststroke slots at the April trials and it was the former – who set a British record of 1:06.21 in Budapest – who set the pace in the second heat, establishing more than a metre lead at halfway and stretching away on the second 50 to touch in 1:07.43.

Vasey, who won the 50br on Friday morning, touched first in the final heat in 1:07.94 to book lane five alongside Renshaw.

Wood Makes Rare Foray; Litchfield On Pole

The first heat of the 400IM featured Wood – fresh from her 2:09.24 in the 200IM as she once more rattled the rankings in Friday’s morning’s finals – and Miley, whose trials preparations were disrupted by injury.

Wood – who has a best of 4:37 but very rarely races in the long medley – set the fastest time of 4:38.20.

There is still a spot available on the team alongside Aimee Willmott with 4:36.68 the time required, Miley through in 4:43.18 to give herself a final chance of booking a trip to her fourth Olympics.

Willmott didn’t appear for the second heat which was won by Katie Shanahan in 4:49.29, the European silver medallist recovering after the 200IM final in which she was third.

Max Litchfield dominated the men’s race, the European bronze medallist more than four seconds clear in 4:16.35.

Mark Szarenek (4:20.64) and Charlie Hutchison (4:22.76) were next home.

Grace Harvey

Grace Harvey: Photo Courtesy: British Swimming

In the para-swimming events, the women’s MC 100m breaststroke final looks set to be an intriguing one on Saturday morning, with Grace Harvey (SB5) lowering her British record to 1:41.79.

SB6 duo Maisie Summers-Newton and Ellie Simmonds also clocked solid times in their respective heats.

Scott Quin again went under his Paralympic consideration mark in the men’s contest, qualifying fastest ahead of Conner Morrison, who is just back from the World Para Swimming European Open Championships in Madeira.

 

 


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