GB swimmers top table at European championships


The British disabled swimming team topped the medal table at the European IPC championships in Reykjavik, Iceland, after scooping 39 gold medals, 32 silvers and 23 bronzes.

And a string of British swimmers left the championships with multiple gold medals.

Heather Frederiksen, Louise Watkin, Ellie Simmonds and Stephanie Millward all won five golds each, while Matt Walker won four and Sascha Kindred won three.

The team also returned with several European and world records.

Among them, Simmonds broke the world record in the SM6 200m individual medley, and teamed up with Millward, Lauren Steadman and Watkin to smash the European record by 16 seconds in the 34-point women’s 4x100m freestyle relay.

Frederiksen set a new world record in the S8 50m freestyle, but perhaps the most noteworthy performance was that of the women’s 34-point 4x100m medley relay team of Frederiksen, Claire Cashmore, Millward and Watkin, who knocked 13 seconds off the nine-year-old world record.

The British team’s head coach, Lars Humer, said: “This has been a great result for all of us and it was down to a real team effort.

“What was really pleasing is that we had a crop of youngsters that stood up here and did a good job, but we also saw good performances from some of our other athletes too.

“We are aware that the whole of Europe is moving on but we finished on the top of the medal table, which shows that we are keeping ahead of the developments.

“Looking forward we need to make sure that our rate of improvement is as good as everyone else’s.”

Meanwhile, three female Paralympic stars have been shortlisted for a prestigious sporting award.

Archer Danielle Brown, who won a gold medal in Beijing; cyclist Sarah Storey – who won five Paralympic swimming golds before switching to cycling and winning two golds in Beijing; and GB wheelchair basketball star Clare Strange, have all been nominated in the Disabled Sportswoman of the Year category of The Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards 2009.

Winners are due to be announced on 3 November.  

26 October 2009