Proud Leads Off In 20.56 As Brits Obliterate National Record In 200 Free Relay


The British men torched their National Record in the men’s 200 freestyle relay twice on the opening day of the European Short Course Championships in Otopeni, first doing so in the prelims before earning the gold medal with a blistering showing in the final.

In the heats, the quartet of Matt RichardsDuncan ScottAlexander Cohoon and Lewis Burras combined for a time of 1:23.81, breaking the previous mark of 1:24.61 established by the University of Stirling at the 2019 Scottish Championships.

Subbing in Ben Proud, one of the fastest men in history, for the final, the Brits bulldozed their way to the gold medal in a time of 1:22.52, knocking well over a second off their newly minted record.

Proud, the 2021 short course world champion in the men’s 50 free and the 2022 runner-up, led the team off with a scintillating lead-off leg of 20.56, the fastest in the field by more than three-tenths of a second.

The 29-year-old owns a lifetime best of 20.40 in the 50 free, ranking him #5 all-time.

He was followed by Richards, Cohoon and Burras on Tuesday night as all four swimmers were sub-21.

Split Comparison

Stirling, 2019 Scottish Championships Great Britain, 2023 SC Euros Prelims Great Britain, 2023 SC Euros Final
Duncan Scott – 21.44 Matt Richards – 21.09 Ben Proud – 20.56
Martyn Walton – 21.34 Duncan Scott – 21.12 Matt Richards – 20.50
Scott McLay – 20.85 Alexander Cohoon – 20.89 Alexander Cohoon – 20.99
Craig McLean – 20.98 Lewis Burras – 20.71 Lewis Burras – 20.47
1:24.61 1:23.81 1:22.52

The time for Great Britain would’ve won the 2022 SC World title by more than nine-tenths of a second, with Australia having won the crown last December on home soil in 1:23.44.

The Italians were the silver medalists at the 2022 SC Worlds, and they matched that performance on Tuesday with a runner-up finish behind the Brits. Great Britain was the only nation that had all four swimmers sub-21, though Italy almost matched that, with Leonardo Deplano their only swimmer dipping into 21s on the lead-off leg (21.05).

Lorenzo ZazzeriThomas Ceccon and Alessandro Miressi followed for a final time of 1:23.14 for Italy, while Greece claimed bronze in 1:23.27, setting a new National Record with a pair of scintillating 20.5 splits from Apostolos Christou and Andreas Vazaios.

You can find the race video below:

Find a full recap of Day 1 finals here.

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2 months ago

Just so we’re all clear…reminder that Andreas Vazaios is an IMer and Flyer!!!! Not a bloody sprint freestyler dear god

2 months ago

It’s funny to see these guys all exiting through the side of the pool and some not able to move over in time so they just hang on the lane rope hoping not to get in the way

Dc swim fan
2 months ago

That 1:20.7 is nuts

Reply to  Dc swim fan
2 months ago

It was supersuited… but yeah, it really is nuts!
Bernard 20.64
Gilot 20.33
Leveaux 19.93
Bousquet 19.87

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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