Blistering finish from Tom Dean helps University of Bath-based trio win freestyle relay bronze at World Swimming Championships
Tom Dean won his second medal of the week and James Guy took his international medal tally to 32 as they helped British Swimming claim 4x200m freestyle relay bronze at the FINA World Championships in Budapest.
Fellow University of Bath-based swimmer Matt Richards also received a medal after playing his part in securing a place for the GB team in Thursday’s final with a strong swim in the heats.
Guy produced a solid opening leg in the final, which was built on by Jacob Whittle and Joe Litchfield before Dean – a bronze-medallist in the individual 200m free earlier this week – dived into the pool in fifth place.
The University of Bath Bill Whiteley Sporting Scholar, coached by David McNulty at the Team Bath Sports Training Village, turned on the afterburners to produce an incredible 1:43.53 split for the anchor leg and take the British team onto the podium.
Dean – who had won Olympic gold in the event last summer alongside Guy, Richards and fellow British Swimming Performance Bath swimmer Calum Jarvis – said: “I knew I was in good form so I was hoping for a quick time. When you’re in that arena and you’re chasing someone down, really special things can happen.
“Jimmy came here five years ago and went a 1:43, it’s always been like a holy grail of relay splits. Duncan [Scott] then backed it up in Tokyo and went a 1:43, and it’s a great honour to join that club now.”
Guy, who won his third World Champs medal in the event, added: “We always knew it would be a challenge to replicate what we did in Tokyo but to get a bronze at the Worlds with quite a new team is not a bad start.”
It was a fourth final of the week for Dean who, as well as winning bronze in the 200m freestyle, finished fourth in the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay with Richards and placed fifth in the 200m individual medley in 1:56.77 on Wednesday. It was Dean’s first global medley final and his time in the closing 50m freestyle was more than half-a-second quicker than the rest of the field.
Tuesday had been a night of near misses for Performance Centre Bath swimmers, with Freya Anderson twice touching the wall in fourth in the space of a couple of hours.
The first time came in the 200m freestyle final where Anderson, who had set a new personal best while qualifying fastest from the semi-finals, stayed with the leading pack throughout a tactical race. She then put in a trademark late charge but was edged out of the medals by less than a quarter of a second in 1:56.61.
Anderson then swam the anchor leg for the mixed 4x100m medley relay and took over on the hips of the podium runners after a sub-51 second butterfly leg from training partner Guy. She again produced a characteristically spirited final 50m, all the more impressive given her earlier exertions, but just missed out in a three-way race for bronze.
Brodie Williams also finished just one place outside the medals in the 200m backstroke on Thursday having produced excellent swims in both the semi-finals (1:56.17) and his first-ever global final (1:56.16) to lower his personal best twice in 24 hours.
Also setting a new lifetime best in Budapest was Jacob Peters whose time of 51.50 in Thursday’s 100m butterfly semi-finals was equalled by training partner Guy as they finished joint 11th overall.
Guy had placed eighth in his first international 200m butterfly final earlier in the week, touching the wall in 1:55.54.
Pictured top: (From left) Jacob Whittle, Joe Litchfield, Tom Dean and James Guy with their 4x200m freestyle bronze medals. Credit: Nick Hope