Guy, Kisil, Sanchez & Stephens Among Day 1 Winners At Swim England

With just 3 British stars in Ben Proud, Georgia Davies and Mark Szaranek competing in Hangzhou at the FINA Short Course World Championships, most of the English contingency is available to race at the Swim England Winter Championships that kicked off today in Sheffield.

The fastest heat of the women’s 800m free saw Stockport Metro’s Holly Hibbott log an almost-best time en route to gold. Hibbott, who earned silver in the 400m free at this year’s Commonwealth Games, touched the wall in 8:19.87 for the win tonight, just .68 outside the 19-year-old’s career fastest.

Visiting Canadian swimmer Yui Kisil busted out a quick 21.52 mark to take the men’s 50m freestyle ahead of Loughborough’s Tom Fannon. Fannon settled for silver in 21.84, as the pair represented the only athletes to dip under the 22-second threshold in the race. The Canadian National Record rests at the 21.34 Brent Hayden established back in 2009, so Kisil still has some ground to cover to get within range.

As for Fannon, his 21.84 time tonight shaved .01 off of the 21-year-old European Junior Champion’s previous best.

Loughborough’s Luke Greenbank wowed the crowd with his 200m backstroke winning effort of 1:51.16. That blows away Greenbank’s previous personal best of 1:53.29 from this year’s BUCS Short Course Championships. His performance also moves Greenbank up to become the 2nd fastest British performer ever in this event, sitting only behind now-retired Christopher Walker-Hebborn and his British National Record of 1:50.73.

The women’s 100m breaststroke saw Imogen Clark hit the wall first, stopping the clock at a time of 1:05.40. Loughborough teammate Molly Renshaw was also in 1:05 territory, claiming silver in 1:05.50, while Canada’s Kierra Smith earned bronze in 1:06.15. For Clark, her time tonight wasn’t too far from her own personal best of 1:05.12.

There was a disqualification in the women’s 100m breast race, as Olympic silver medalist in the 200m IM, Siobhan-Marie O’Connor for a false start.

Another Canadian in the water today from the HPC-Ontario squad was 17-year-old Kayla Sanchez, the woman who recently broke the SCM 50 free World Junior Record. Sanchez did damage tonight in the 200m IM, taking gold in a very comfortable time of 2:04.64, well over 2 seconds ahead of the rest of the field. Finishing with the silver was Abbie Wood in 2:07.13, while the aforementioned O’Connor took bronze in 2:09.03.

But Sanchez wasn’t done. Later in the session, Sanchez busted out a new World Junior Record and Canadian National Record in the women’s 100m freestyle. Clocking a winning effort of 51.45, Sanchez blew away the field here, but also would have won silver at the Short Course World Championships. Her time now checks-in Sanchez in as the 8th fastest performer ever in the event. You can read more about her impressive feat here.

Anna Hopkin, who swims for the University of Arkansas stateside, earned silver behind Sanchez this evening in 52.00, while Oleksiak touched in 52.32 for 3rd.

Olympian James Guy set out on his first event of these championships, claiming the top seed of the men’s 100m fly heats in 51.82. The Bath athlete engaged another gear in the final, however, as the 23-year-old threw down a solid 50.66 to stand atop the podium.

Guy’s mark tonight represents a new personal best, outperforming his previous career-fastest effort of 50.85 from 2016. In fact, Guy’s 50.66 tonight checks him in as the 4th fastest British performer in history and would have finished 8th in the Short Course World Championships final.

Laura Stephens threw down a big-time 2:04.94 in the women’s 200m fly to win by over 2 seconds. Her sub-2:05 time this evening crushes her previous lifetime best of 2:06.47 and positions her now as the 3rd fastest Brit in history. For perspective, Stephens’ 2:04.94 effort would have placed 5th in Hangzhou.

Additional Winners:

  • Emily Crane was the fastest swimmer in the women’s 50m back, taking gold in 26.94.
  • The men’s 50m breast saw Commonwealth Games champion James Wilby produce a new best time, clocking 26.61 to become the 3rd fastest British performer ever.
  • Max Litchfield won the 400m free in 3:38.13, while runner-up Jack McMillan of Ireland set a new National Record at 3:42.42 for silver this evening.
  • The men’s 100m IM saw Sam Horrocks come away victorious witha time of 53.50.


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2 years ago

Sanchez went 2.04.64 in the IM, and she looked extremely impressive in doing so; Her back to breast turn was phenomenal. Brilliant skills. Oleksiak also showing some glimpses of her old self in third.

Max Litchfield & Anna Hopkin the British swims of the night for me; 3.38 400fr is not too shabby at all Mr IM’er.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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