Golden finish to 2019 World Swimming Championships for James Guy as Bath-based swimmers impress in Gwangju
There was gold and bronze for James Guy plus big personal bests for Tom Dean and Anna Hopkin on an impressive week for University of Bath-based swimmers present and past at the 2019 World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.
Guy, coached by Jol Finck at the British Swimming National Centre Bath, produced a strong butterfly leg as the British men’s 4x100m medley relay quartet brilliantly struck gold in a European record time of 3:28.10 on the final day of competition.
Luke Greenbank and Adam Peaty had put Britain in a strong position which Guy was able to maintain before Duncan Scott raised the roof by chasing down the United States and Russia in the closing 20m of a thrilling race.
It was a career ninth World Championship medal for Guy, his eighth having come earlier in the week in the mixed 4x100m medley relay when he won bronze alongside Georgia Davies, Peaty and Freya Anderson.
Guy, who also produced a season’s best of 51.62 as he placed seventh in the 100m butterfly, started a busy week by helping Scott, Ben Proud and Scott McLay set a new British textile record of 3:11.81 while finishing fifth in the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay.
He also teamed up with Scott and fellow National Centre Bath swimmers Calum Jarvis and Dean to finish fourth in a blanket finish to the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay, Cameron Kurle having earlier helped GB qualify for the final.
Guy was pleased with his efforts for the week, saying: “I had a really good three-month block of training coming into the meet and my times have dropped quite a bit, so what we’ve been doing has been working. Hopefully I can carry that on into Tokyo.”
Mechanical Engineering student Dean will also take great confidence from his first senior World Championships into Olympic year after producing his fastest-ever heat swim before setting a lifetime best of 1:58.34 – a University of Bath record – in the semi-finals of the men’s 200m individual medley.
“The whole aim is to swim a season’s best at the main meet of the season, that’s what it’s all about,” said Dean, who is supported by a Bill Whiteley Scholarship.
Also excelling on their World Championships debut was Sport & Exercise Science graduate Anna Hopkin, who set a new British textile record of 53.21 in the 100m freestyle heats and took half-a-second off her 50m freestyle personal best when she clocked a rapid 24.34.
That secured her a place in a maiden global final, where she placed seventh overall in 24.40.
“It was only very slightly slower than in the semi-final, so I’m very happy to have been able to produce a consistent swim,” said Hopkin, who was coached by Mark Skimming during her time in the University of Bath student swimming squad.
“In the 100m and the 50m I was ranked 19th and 20th coming in, so the goal was to try and sneak into semi-finals, so to come seventh in the world in the 50m and just miss out on the final in the 100m is definitely more than I expected – I’m really happy.”
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor – coached by David McNulty – finished seventh in the women’s 200m individual medley final in 2:10.43, while Jessica Fullalove reached the semi-finals of the 200m backstroke on her World Championships debut.
Fresh from competing at the World University Games in Italy, Team Bath Dual Career athlete Filippos Iakovidis represented Cyprus in the 50m and 100m backstroke. The Sport & Exercise Science student, coached by Skimming, clocked good times of 27.00 and 58.26 respectively.