Proud and Harris continue British brilliance at European Short Course – British Swimming

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7 Dec 2023
Ben Proud delivered the second-fastest swim in history and Medi Harris secured her maiden senior individual international title as Britain’s European Short Course Championship campaign went from strength to strength on day three in Otopeni, Romania.
Another four medals were added to the British tally, with the double gold from Proud and Harris (200m Backstroke) supplemented by a superb silver for Katie Shanahan, plus bronze for the Women’s 4x50m Medley Relay in the evening’s closing race.
In the Men’s 50m Freestyle, Proud moved closer to an unprecedented career clean sweep of sprint freestyle crowns as he dominated the splash and dash in a style unfamiliar to the sport’s shortest contest. 
A lightning start, brilliant turn and powerful strokes from blocks to wall saw him claim gold in a stunning 20.18, smashing the previous European record and falling just 0.02 seconds shy of the world record. Across such a quick race, his winning margin of 0.56 seconds was staggering – and ensured he has now won world and European titles in this event at both long and short-course versions of the Championships, as well as the Commonwealth title. 
“When Caeleb Dressel came along, I knew I was not going to be the best sprinter and now we have Cam McEvoy too, so it’s about being consistent, and to be 29 and doing PBs feels great,” said the two-time Olympian, who was joined by fellow Men’s 4x50m Freestyle Relay gold medallist Lewis Burras in the final, with Burras placing sixth.
“Coming here I said I wanted that title. It’s the only one outside of the Olympics I didn’t have and now, regardless of what happens at the Olympics next year, I feel I can retire happy.”
As Proud was climbing on to the blocks, GB teammates Harris and Shanahan were just leaving poolside after igniting the Thursday evening session for British Swimming, as they clinched a second British gold-silver combo of the meet in the Women’s 200m Backstroke.
Harris – a regular over 50m and 100m Backstroke races for Britain over the past two seasons – showed her staying power brilliantly over the longer distance en route to 200m victory, building through the race and moving clear over the final 75m, with Shanahan also illustrating a well-paced effort to follow Medi into the wall in a lifetime best effort. 
“I was really nervous as I haven’t done this event in a long time but I’m really grateful I was able to be in the call room with Katie which really helped,” said Harris.
“It’s exciting to think what could be to come in the 200m back for GB. I’ve recently moved to Loughborough with Dave Hemmings so I’m really thankful for him and that’s the main goal for this year is to build my confidence and he definitely has so I’m very thankful.”
Shanahan added: “I’m really happy with that swim. To get a PB and come second, and for Medi to come first, I’m so proud of her and I’m just really happy with my swim.”
To round out Thursday’s action, there was yet more relay success for Britain, as Kathleen Dawson, Imogen Clark, Keanna MacInnes and Anna Hopkin combined to pick up Women’s 4x50m Medley Relay bronze – and in a new British record time too.
The qualifying work was done in the morning by the quartet of Dawson, Kara Hanlon, Laura Stephens and Freya Anderson, with a trio of changes made in the evening and meaning a total of seven British medallists were made from the one event. 
Fresh from her 50m Backstroke semi-final, Dawson showed great powers of recovery to deliver a strong opening leg of backstroke, before Clark produced the fastest breaststroke leg of the final to put GB well in contention at halfway. MacInnes protected that position well on the butterfly, and it was left to the reliable anchor work of Hopkin to make sure of the bronze in 1:44.67, lowering the previous British mark for the event.
For Dawson, back on the international stage after a long recovery from injury, the podium moment – and her performances in general – are as enjoyable as ever.
“It’s been a journey with lots of ups and downs so I’ve just had to believe in myself. To be as consistent as I have been, is amazing. I’m swimming the 50m back as quickly as I was back in 2016 so I’m really happy to be performing for the team,” she said.
Breaststroker Clark added: “It’s great to be up on the podium but just to be in the team in the first place is wicked. To go race with the girls and then make it onto the podium makes it all worthwhile.”
Elsewhere on the night of finals, Emily Large placed fifth in the Women’s 200m Butterfly finale and Archie Goodburn was eighth in the Men’s 100m Breaststroke, while there were eight British athletes who booked lanes for finals on Friday – including Duncan Scott (200m Individual Medley) and Anna Hopkin (100m Freestyle) leading as fastest-qualifiers in those respective events.
Other results (* denotes unable to qualify due to two-per-nation rule)
Men’s 200m Individual Medley
Duncan Scott – fastest into the final
Joe Litchfield – fifth into the final
Tom Dean – fifth in heats*
Evan Jones – eighth in heats*
Women’s 100m Freestyle
Anna Hopkin – fastest into the final
Freya Anderson – sixth into the final
Lucy Hope – 10th in heats*
Freya Colbert – 12th in heats*
Men’s 100m Backstroke

Luke Greenbank – fourth into the final
Cameron Brooker – 10th
Jonathon Adam – seventh in heats*
Oliver Morgan – 13th in heats*
Women’s 200m Breaststroke

Abbie Wood – 10th
Kara Hanlon – 14th
Leah Schlosshan – 17th 
Men’s 200m Butterfly

Ed Mildred – fifth into final
Women’s 50m Backstroke

Kathleen Dawson – seventh into final
Medi Harris – eighth into final
Lauren Cox – 12th in heats*
Full results and information on how you can watch every single session from Otopeni 2023 is available on our ‘What’s On?’ page

British Swimming made history at the European Short Course Championships as their five-medal haul on the final night of action – including a superb 200m Freestyle gold for Freya Anderson – ensured they finished top of the competition’s medal table for the first time.
Britain's swimmers claimed a marvellous hat-trick of gold medals on the penultimate night of action at the European Short Course Championships to sit top of the medal table ahead of the final day in Otopeni, Romania.
A medal of each colour boosted an eye-catching British Swimming medal tally further on day four of the European Short Course Championships, as Duncan Scott took an outstanding 200m Individual Medley gold before a freestyle silver-bronze combo for Anna Hopkin and Freya Anderson.