The European Championships couldn’t have gotten off to a much better start for Great Britain’s swimmers, as they won three medals on the opening night, breaking two British records in the process.
It was a truly golden moment in the history of Women’s 4x100m Freestyle swimming in the UK, as a new-look quartet of Lucy Hope,(Edinburgh University, formally BEST and Kelso), Anna Hopkin, Abbie Wood and Freya Anderson were the first British team to ever land the European crown, breaking the national record in the process.
Having qualified third quickest, where youngsters Emma Russell (University of Stirling, formally Heart of Midlothian) and Evelyn Davis (Bromley SC), who turns 17 on Tuesday, produced strong swims on their senior international debuts, Hopkin and Wood came into the final line-up to great effect. As she did this morning, Hope (Edinburgh University) swam a great lead-off leg, breaking the 100m freestyle Scottish Record (53.89), putting the team right in thick of the action, with Hopkin maintaining that position.
Medley and breaststroke swimmer Wood, coached by Dave Hemmings, proved an inspired choice for the final line-up, and she swam the 100m of her life to put Anderson in the lead with two lengths remaining. Anderson has been a phenomenal anchor leg swimmer for Great Britain over the last few years and she did it again tonight, a stunning 52.79 split holding off the Dutch to strike gold and set a new British record of 3:34.17, lopping a second and a half off the old time.
Gold medal winner Hope said:
“My goal was to get us in the best place I possibly could for these three other girls. Overall I’m really happy with the time. It was quite unexpected but we’re all really happy.”