GREAT Britain were unable to add to their record-breaking success on the final day of the FINA Aquatics World Championships in Kazan but left Russia with a haul of 14 medals which included seven golds.
Britain narrowly missed out on a medal in the men’s 4x100 metres medley relay yesterday as Adam Peaty, Ben Proud, Chris Walker-Hebborn and James Guy finished in fourth place.
Scotland’s Hannah Miley also finished fourth in the women’s 400m individual medley, with Aimee Willmott seventh.
Stephen Milne, another Scot, came home in fifth in the men’s 1500m freestyle final in a race where favourite Sun Yang of China unexpectedly did not compete.
Liam Tancock also finished outside of the medals in the men’s 50m backstroke final in seventh place in the first race of the day, while Fran Halsall was unable to match her gold medal-winning achievement at last year’s Commonwealth Games in the women’s 50m freestyle as she finished seventh in the event. Scotland’s Commonwealth Games hero, Dan Wallace, meanwhile, failed to get among the medals in the 400m individual medley.
Despite no further medals being won on the final day of the competition by the British team, it was still their most successful World Championships. Head coach Bill Furniss, who guided Rebecca Adlington to two Olympic titles, was thrilled with the haul, which placed Britain fifth in the overall medal table behind China, the United States, Russia and Australia.
“So many British records I’ve lost count and so many finalist people getting through and getting second swims. I’m delighted so very positive,” he said.
“I’ll be honest, it’s gone better than planned. We only won one medal in Barcelona and we had a good year last year with the Commonwealths and Europeans but that’s at that level and can we do it at a World Championships and an Olympics?
“I think the real positive for us is that we can do it, so it’s a belief thing and a culture thing and I’ve got guys finishing fourth at a World Championships who are absolutely devastated and that’s music to my ears. We’re about trying to get to the podium.”
Britain’s success came in both diving and swimming in Kazan.
Rebecca Gallantree and Tom Daley won diving gold in the 3m springboard/10m platform team event with Gary Hunt claiming high diving gold for Britain.
Peaty won two swimming golds in the 50m and 100m breaststroke, with Guy taking the men’s 200m freestyle title. The duo also both won gold in relay competition, with Peaty combining successfully with Walker-Hebborn, Siobhan-Marie O’Connor and Halsall in the mixed 4x100m medley, while Guy won alongside Wallace, Robbie Renwick and Callum Jarvis in the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay. Guy also won 400m freestyle silver while Britain won six bronze medals thanks to Daley, O’Connor, Ross Murdoch, Jazz Carlin and Jack Laugher, with the latter winning another diving bronze alongside 3m synchro partner Chris Mears.
Meanwhile, Chinese star Sun Yang created a stir on the final night when he failed to show up for the 1,500m freestyle final. Sun, who had already won the 400m and 800m freestyle events at the championships, caused chaos in the call room minutes before the race in which he was the two-time defending champion.
The 23-year-old swimmer later said a heart problem caused him to vanish. He couldn’t be found by the judges, and Lane 3 remained empty while Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy won.
“Today I came here and during the warm-up in the pool, I feel uncomfortable in the heart so I have to give up competition. I feel sorry because of that,” said Sun, who did appear at the end of the night to receive the best male swimmer award.