Swimming: Ross Murdoch has to settle for silver

Britain's Ross Murdoch was pipped at the post by Germany's Marco Koch at the European Championships. Picture: Getty
Britain's Ross Murdoch was pipped at the post by Germany's Marco Koch at the European Championships. Picture: Getty
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Scotland’s Ross Murdoch took his second silver medal of the week in the men’s 200m breaststroke at the European Championships in Berlin last night.

The Commonwealth champion had to settle for second place in a time of 2:07.77 – just 0.3s behind Germany’s Marco Koch, while fellow Briton 
Andrew Willis was nudged out of the medals with a fourth-place finish.

Murdoch, who finished behind GB team-mate Adam Peaty in the 100m breaststroke earlier in the week, was chasing down the home favourite in the closing stages but just ran out of water in a close finish.

“I’m absolutely delighted, it’s my first European Championships and it’s been a long season for me,” said Murdoch.

“To come here and PB again after the Commonwealth Games was a tough ask. But I’ve swum my best and I’ve had the season of my life.”

Jazz Carlin followed up her historic gold medal at the Commonwealth Games – the first for a Welsh swimmer in 40 years – by storming to the top of the podium in the women’s 800 metres freestyle. The Swansea girl kept herself in contention in the initial stages before pulling well clear in the second half of Thursday’s final to seal first place in a personal best time of eight minutes 15.54 seconds.

That was 5.68 secs ahead of Spain’s Mireira Belmonte Garcia and gave her a second gold of the summer following her success in the same event at Glasgow last month.

Aimee Willmott secured her second medal of the championships with silver in the women’s 200m individual medley.

The 21-year-old from Middlesbrough won bronze in the 400m medley final on Monday and went one better over the shorter distance, finishing runner-up to Katinka Hosszu in a time of 2min 11.44secs.

Georgia Davies sealed bronze in the women’s 100m backstroke, while Chris Walker-Hebborn, who has already won two golds in Berlin, settled for third in the 50m backstroke.

Meanwhile, in Gold Coast in Australia, Katie Ledecky enhanced her status as swimming’s new teen queen with two victories in less than an hour on the opening day of the Pan Pacific championships yesterday. The 17-year-old American took the 200 metres freestyle after world champion Missy Franklin failed to qualify for the final. She then left her rivals in her wake to win the 800m freestyle, coming within a whisker of breaking the world record she set less than two months ago.

Franklin, who has been troubled by back spasms and almost missed the meet, won the 200m consolation final in a time that would have got her second place in the A final before finishing third behind Australia’s Emily Seebohm in the 100m backstroke.

Ledecky was named World Swimmer of the Year in 2013 after breaking the world record for 800m and 1,500m, but is turning her attention to shorter distances.

She broke the 400m world record this month and is swimming the 200m at an international meet for the first time.

Her winning time yesterday was one minute 55.74 seconds, almost a second and a half clear of her nearest rival. She clocked 8:11.35 in the 800m, just 0.35 outside her world record.

“I wasn’t really focusing on hitting a certain time,” she said.

“I just wanted to get through the double and see if I could handle both races.”

Franklin won six gold medals at last year’s championships in Barcelona but was well off her best yesterday. “There is still some discomfort but it is getting much, much better day by day,” the 19-year-old said after the heats. Seebohm was impressive in winning the 100m backstroke, stopping the clock at 58.84 seconds..

The United States won four of the eight finals contested on the opening night of the four-day meet with Camille Adams (women’s 200m butterfly) and Conor Jaeger (men’s 1,500m freestyle) joining Ledecky on top of the podium. Michael Phelps, competing in his first international meet since retiring after London 2012, is scheduled to make his first appearance today.