Jedburgh's Lucy in scintillating swimming form to keep Tokyo hopes afloat

Borders swimmer Lucy Hope has delivered another string of strong performances as the GB’s Olympic quest continues.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 4:47 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th May 2021, 5:18 pm
Great Britain's Lucy Hope competes in a heat for the Womens 200m Freestyle Swimming event during the LEN European Aquatics Championships at the Duna Arena in Budapest on May 19, 2021. (Photo by Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP) (Photo by TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP via Getty Images)

The Jedburgh pool ace helped the British women’s squad to medal success on the opening night of the European Swimming Championships in Budapest, and they broke the national record in the process.

Lucy, 24, laid some excellent foundations for her team-mates during a memorable moment in the history of women’s 4x100m freestyle swimming in the UK.

A a new-look quartet, featuring Lucy, Anna Hopkin, Abbie Wood and Freya Anderson, were the first British team to ever land the European crown, while setting a new UK record.

Edinburgh University student Lucy swam a great lead-off leg, breaking the 100m freestyle Scottish record (53.89) and putting the team in thick of the action, with Hopkin maintaining that position.

Medley and breaststroke swimmer Wood proved an inspired choice for the final line-up and swam an excellent 100m to put Anderson in the lead with two lengths remaining.

Anderson has been a phenomenal anchor leg swimmer for Britain in recent years and she did it again, with a stunning 52.79 split holding off the Dutch to strike gold and set a new British record of 3:34.17, taking a second and a half off the old time.

Sporting her gold medal, Lucy said in an online interview: “My goal was to get us in the best place I possibly could for these three other girls. Overall, I’m really happy with the time. It was quite unexpected but we’re all really happy.”

Lucy had hoped once again to make her case for a late call-up for the Tokyo Olympics by contributing vividly to the UK’s opening-day effort.

In April, she had a shot at persuading the British selectors to add her to the squad for Japan when she produced her best ever 100-metre freestyle at the UK selection trials in London.

She said that trial performances had boosted her confidence for Hungary and she was not putting herself under too much pressure.

Lucy, supported by Roxburgh Sports Co uncil and the George Crawford Trust among others, was third in her 200m freestyle heat as the competition continued.