Katie Shanahan kick-started Team GB’s medal haul at the Baku 2019 European Youth Olympic Festival with 400m individual medley gold on the second day of competition in Azerbaijan today.
The 15-year-old Glaswegian dominated the final from start to finish, ending with a time of 4:43.92, over six and a half seconds clear of the field, and a new European Youth Olympic record.
Shanahan’s night wasn’t over either as she eased into the final of the 200m backstroke in 2:14.03, winning her semi-final and qualifying second fastest for tomorrow’s final.
“I’m so happy to have won and to get that first medal for the team,” said Shanahan, who also won European Junior bronze in the same event earlier this month.
“I was really happy with my time and the way I executed the race. That record has stood for 18 years so to break it here is great.
“I’ve still got the 200 IM [individual medley] to come and I’m seeded for that and it’s probably my favourite event.
“I’ve raced a couple of these girls before at the European Juniors this year but most are new to me. It’s good to get some different competition but I’m happy overall with my swimming and being able to win here and get golds is even better.
“The whole squad is really enjoying it out here. The experience is amazing. We didn’t get to go to the Opening Ceremony last night as we were competing this morning so it’s a shame to miss out, but as a squad we’re swimming really well and hopefully the week will go well for us.”
With only two finals on the first day of action in the pool, qualification was the aim for the rest of the Team GB swimmers in the Baku Aquatics Centre.
Tamryn van Selm was fastest into her 100m freestyle final following a European Youth Olympic record of her own, recording a time of 55.77 in her heat, while Sophie Freeman qualified fastest for the 200m fly final.
Will Ellington was third quickest into the boys’ 200m breaststroke final and Mark Ford took the eighth and final place in the 100m backstroke final.
Over at the Baku Tennis Academy, Yujiro Onuma battled the heat and wind to move into the boys’ singles second round after a 6-3 7-5 victory over Ireland’s Arthur O’Sullivan, before teaming up with birthday boy Matt Rankin to win their doubles first round tie 6-1, 7-6 over the Belarussian pair.
“I had to battle quite hard today,” said Onuma, who celebrated his 15th birthday yesterday.
“It’s really hot out there so it was difficult to get used to early on. I won the key points at the right times and that was the difference today. Winning in straight sets is definitely a bonus given I’m playing singles and doubles at the same time.
“The guy [O’Sullivan] has quite a good serve on him but I returned well today and was able to neutralise that threat. I managed to put pressure on him throughout.
“Most of the top guys here I know well and have some good results against a few of them so hopefully I can go well.”
It wasn’t to be for the girls doubles pairing of Andrea Pineda and Matilda Mutavdzic however as they went down 6-4, 6-3 to Romania.
For any media inquires or for further information regarding Baku 2019, please contact Ed Langford (Ed.Langford@TeamGB.com).