Great Britain's Aquatic Stars Test Themselves Against Europe's Best


With less than 70 days to go until London 2012, some of Great Britain's top aquatics athletes are halfway through a test against many of Europe's top athletes at the European Championships for diving and swimming.

Last week at the European Diving Championships in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, it was double gold for the Great Britain team. Firstly Tonia Couch and Sarah Barrow took a historic victory in the women's 10 metre synchro, the first medals for British women in these championships since 1938. This sets Couch and Barrow up as genuine medal contenders for London 2012.

Then last night, Tom Daley sealed a successful week for the British diving team with a commanding win in the men's 10 metre platform. Daley dominated the competiton, setting a personal best and repeating the victory he achieved at the same venue in 2008, when he was just 13 years old. Daley turns 18 today, so the gold medal in Eindhoven was a welcome birthday present.

Daley said, "It means so much to be European champion again with a personal best and I couldn't have asked for anything more."

Attention now turns to the European Swimming Championships in Debrecen. With the focus for British Swimming being squarely on London 2012, just five British swimmers have made the trip to Hungary. These are Commonwealth medallists James Goddard, Robbie Renwick and Michael Jamieson, plus up and coming talents Craig Gibbons and Sophie Allen, who are making their senior championship debuts. None of the five will have fully tapered for this event.

For Goddard and Jamieson, it is the local athletes from Hungary that will largely interest them. Goddard lost out narrowly to Laszlo Cseh for a bronze medal at last year's world championships in the 200 metres individual medley, so will be eager to reverse the rankings in what promises to be a tough test for the triple Commonwealth champion.

Jamieson will take on against reigning world champion Daniel Gyurta in the 200 metres breaststroke. Despite the Hungarian currently being ranked only 25th in the world this year, he is strongly tipped to put in a good performance in front of his home crowd.

Although the British team in Debrecen is slim, there is strong interest in the form of some of Europe's biggest stars who are competing here.

These include Francesca Pelegrini, the 400 metres freestyle world champion, and one of Rebecca Adlington's main rivals for victory in London 2012. Katinka Hosszu, one of Hannah Miley's main rivals in the 400 metres individual medley, is also on show.

Germany has sent a large team, including world record holder Paul Biedermann and Olympic champion Britta Steffen, while French superstar Laure Manadou continues her comeback from retirement in the 100 metres backstoke.

There is live coverage from Debrecen every day on British Eurosport.

 

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