Tom Dean Scorches To 1:46.03 In 200 Free & Stephens Flies To Victory In Edinburgh

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Photo Courtesy: Tom Dean Online

Tom Dean and Laura Stephens delivered stand-out performances on the first day of the Edinburgh International Swim Meet.

While swim meets across the world were postponed or cancelled in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it was business as usual in Scotland as many of the British team gathered for the three-day competition.

This would ordinarily present an opportunity for some hard racing on the road to the British Championships, which double as Olympic trials, next month in London.

This, though, is no ordinary year with Tokyo 2020 increasingly under threat.

The competition at the Royal Commonwealth Pool got under way on Friday with the likes of Adam Peaty, Duncan Scott and Anderson.

But it was Dean who raised an eyebrow with victory in the 200 free.

Scott held a 0.21secs lead at the halfway point but a 27.41 third 50 propelled Dean into the lead at the final turn, one he extended to win in 1:46.03, a new personal best.

Former world champion James Guy came past Scott on the last 50 to get second in 1:46.79 with double Olympic silver medallist Scott third home in 1:47.39.

Scott and Dean returned for the 200IM which the former led from the off to win in 1:59.88 ahead of Mark Szaranek (2:01.05) with Dean in third (2:01.49).

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Laura Stephens: Photo Courtesy: British Swimming

Stephens was a clear winner of the women’s 200 butterfly in 2:07.62, a time that would propel her to the upper reaches of the rankings.

The 20-year-old, who was eighth at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, had Emily Large for company over the first 100m before pulling away to touch first.

Large was 1.90secs adrift in 1.90 secs ahead of Hannah Miley (2:13.92).

Sarah Vasey won the 100m breaststroke in which the first three women were separated by just 0.42secs.

Vasey, the Commonwealth 50m champion, led Siobhan O’Connor by 0.69secs and although the British record-holder ate into her lead over the second length, the Loughborough University swimmer got her hand to the wall first in 1:07.41.

O’Connor was second in 1:07.77 ahead of Jocelyn Ulyett who clocked 1:07.83.

It was another notable day for Freya Anderson, who won three titles at the Flanders Cup in January, as she dipped below 25 seconds for the first time in the 50m, clocking 24.88.

That sliced 0.18 from her previous best set at the Flanders Cup.

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James Wilby: Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Commonwealth champion James Wilby led from start to finish for victory by more than two seconds in the 200m breaststroke.

Peaty had qualified third from the morning heats in 2:15.09 but he did not appear in the late afternoon and instead it was Wilby who commanded the spotlight.

Out in 28.91, Wilby was already 1.21secs ahead of 2014 Commonwealth gold medallist Ross Murdoch at the first turn, a lead he extended throughout the race to touch in 2:09.47.

Murdoch was second in 2:11.54 with Nicholas Quinn third in 2:13.52.

Joe Litchfield held off a second-length charge by Luke Greenbank to win the 100 backstroke in 54.99, the world medley relay champion second in 55.15.

Kathleen Dawson won the women’s equivalent with a 30.14 blast down the second 50 after just 0.01 separated her from University of Stirling team-mate Cassie Wild at the halfway point.

Wild touched second in 1:00.19.

Dan Jervis won the 1500m free in 14:57.92, Jacob Peters took the 50 fly in 24.11 and Monique Olivier claimed the 400 free title in 4:11.59.

Link to full results