SWIMNEWS ONLINE: September 1996 Magazine Articles

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Anita Lonsbrough

Helen Don Duncan became Britain's first girl in 13 years to win gold at the European Junior Championships. On Thursday, August 8, in Copenhagen, she swept to victory in the 200 backstoke.

The 15-year-old, who swims for the Ashton Central club, qualified for the final in pole position in 2:17.13, 0.84 seconds ahead of Italy's Laura Porchianello.

Both girls improved in the final but it was the British swimmer who once again had the upper hand. She took gold in a British junior record time of 2:15.61, finishing just one fifth of a second ahead of her Italian rival.

Helen lowered the 12-year-old British junior mark held by Katharine Read (now Osher) by 0.39 seconds.

Danny Wilks and Edward Clement were the best of the British boys. Danny's swim of 52.24 for the 100 freestyle gave him the bronze medal, behind Italy's Mauro Gallo and Hungary's Tamas Kerekjarto.

Edward maintained Britain's run of medals in the 200 butterfly. His time of 2:03.07 placed him third behind Macedonia's Alexander Maleno and Hungary's Miklos Kollar.

The relays doubled Britain's medal haul. The girls 4x200 freestyle of Lyndsey Cooper, Karen Nisbet, Jenny Hunter and Selena Burgess qualified for the final tied for first place with Germany in a time of 8:29.11.

Both teams went faster in the final, with Britain getting the upper hand in 8:23.05. However, Britain time was 8:23.28.

Lyndsey, Karen and Selena were joined by Melanie Marshall in the 4x100 freestyle. The squad qualified in fifth spot and improved by over five seconds to clinch the silver medal behind Germany.

The boys 4x100 freestyle qualified first, and although they improved by nearly two seconds, they could not match the Swedish quartet who took gold in 3:28.19. Britain finished 0.66 seconds behind to take the silver.

In both the boys and girls 4x100 medley relays, Britain just missed out on the medals, finishing fourth.

Double golds for Agnes Kovacs, 15, HUN, Olympic bronze medallist
For larger 64k photo click on image. Photo © Marco Chiesa

Other highlights from these annual Junior Europeans: Hungary's Agnes Kovacs, fresh from her Olympic bronze in the 200 breaststroke, easily won both her specialties in 1:10.38 and 2:29.85.

The small Hungarian team took six gold medals.

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