Great Britain made a great start to Day One of European Juniors with a medal haul of 1 Gold (Sophie Smith - Girls 400m IM - 4:44.46), 1 Silver (Boys 4 x 100m Freestyle - 3:23.97) and 2 Bronze(Alfie Howes - Boys 400m Freestyle - 3:56.11, Sara Lougher - Girls 50m Breaststroke - 32.48). The British team also has the top seed going into tomorrow's Girls 200m Backstroke (Karley Mann) and the second fastest qualifier in the Girl's 200m Butterfly final (Rachael Kelly).
The British girls are excelling, just like their senior counterparts. Whilst the silver medal in the relay and bronze in the 400m Free is a fantastic result for the boys team.
Yannick Agnel was always expected to be a cut above the competition at this meet and so it proved tonight. Agnel swam a sensational 400m Free in 3:46.26. The time ranks him third in the world this year and sets up a fascinating duel with Paul Biedermann at European Seniors. The 400m Free figures to be a two-horse race at Europeans and hopefully Agnel and Biedermann can push themselves to times comparable or better than those being swum at Pan Pacs where the 400m final should be stacked with talent.
Not satisfied with the 3:46, Agnel swam the first leg of the 4 x 100m Free relay for France and smoked a 49.08. This was the foundation for a dominating French win in the relay. Agnel's addition as a reliable relay swimmer to the French 4 x 100m Free team should be enough to put an already strong team over the edge. You just can't see how a team that includes Bernard, Gilot, Agnel as well as Meynard, Bousquet, Mallet or even Leveaux can be beaten right now. I guess the same was said prior to Beijing and Rome, but Agnel offers a much needed 'steady hand' in the relay which should transform this team.