Britain’s swimmers announced their arrival at the European Games in Baku today with three gold medals and a bronze in a flying start to the first ever Games.
Abbie Wood got Team GB off to the perfect start taking gold in the women’s 400m individual medley.
Wood, who qualified quickest for the final, came home in 4:41.97 to claim top spot on the podium and edge out Italy’s Ilaria Cusinato and Anja Crevar into the silver and bronze medal positions respectively. Team GB’s Georgia Coates finished in fourth.
The 16-year-old’s win in Baku also doubles up to make her the European Junior Champion. Wood said: “It’s my first European medal so I’m really excited about it. It’s a surreal feeling.
“I was pretty confident from the heats but it hurt so I wasn’t sure if I could go any faster. Yet I knew everyone would step it up for the final so I had to as well and the pressure was on.
“The 400m IM is so different from the 50m and my weakness is definitely the backstroke so I always know that I have to bring it back on the breaststroke, which is my strongest, and I try to get a good start with my fly.”
Holly Hibbott stormed to 800m freestyle gold after a nail-biting final at the Baku 2015 European Games. The 15-year-old kept pace with the rest of the field for much of the race before pulling clear in the final 100m. She held off Russia’s Anastasiia Kirpichnikova in the final few metres to win gold in 8:39.02. Spain’s Marina Castro Atalaya claimed the bronze.
Holly said: “I didn’t really expect to win gold but I was hoping that I could do it. I saw Abbie earlier and she did really well I was so happy for her.
“I think this is definitely the highlight of my career so far and it inspires me to go on in the future and do more.
“I’ve got world juniors at the end of August so I’ll go out there and see what I can do and then look ahead to 2020 but for now it would be nice to add more medals here in Baku.”