Wales’ Medi Harris Takes Silver Medal For GB

DOHA, QATAR - FEBRUARY 15: Medi Eira Harris of Team Great Britain competes in the Women's 4x200m Freestyle Final on day fourteen of the Doha 2024 World Aquatics Championships at Aspire Dome on February 15, 2024 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Shi Tang/Getty Images)

Wales’ Medi Harris Takes Silver Medal For GB

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By Hannah Blackwell

Medi Harris has added a silver medal at the Aquatics World Championships in Doha to her growing collection.

The Welsh swimmer was part of the Great Britain relay quartet that finished second in the 4x200m women’s freestyle final on Thursday.

Harris, Freya Colbert, Abbie Wood and Lucy Hope managed a superb combined swim to finish on the podium after several recent near misses at global level.

It also firmly rubber-stamped their place at the Paris Olympics later this year.

A superb leg from Wood saw Britain lead at the halfway point but China came back to clinch gold as Britain held off a late surge from Australia, who took bronze.

“I think the disappointment of coming fourth at Worlds last year was the first time you could really tell the girls were actually gutted, and that we were taking it a lot more seriously,” said Wood.

“We have such a strong five girls, including Freya Anderson, that we can swap in and out. Getting a silver here without one of our best freestylers is just so exciting for Paris, and I think everyone is happy with their swims as well.

“I think we really surprised ourselves tonight, especially because it’s quite hard here doing this as our first long-course meet of the season, where we are against girls that are tapered and targeting this meet.

“We handled ourselves really well, we were all in a really good mood today and were just really happy going into the race – and I think that really reflected in our swimming.”

Harris’s Team Wales teammate Matt Richards just missed out on a medal in the men’s 100m freestyle.

The 200m world champion finished fourth behind China’s world record holder Zhanle Pan in first, Italy’s Alessandro Miressi in second and Hungary’s Nandor Nemeth in third.

But Richards’ performance bodes well for where the swimmer is at this stage of the season, with the British Swimming Championships on the horizon in early April.

Richards – racing from an outside lane – was strong in the closing stages to very nearly break into the medals.

Laura Stephens struck gold with her first World Championship medal.

Stephens led from start to finish of the formidable 200m butterfly event, putting together a brilliantly-paced race that ensured she had enough of a lead to hold on to in the closing 15m, ultimately out-touching the chasing Helena Bach of Denmark by less than a tenth of a second.

The result ensured Britain’s first individual World Championship gold in a women’s event since Rebecca Adlington’s victory in the 800m Freestyle in Shanghai in 2011.

“I’m definitely very happy, it’s really hard to put into words to be honest with you, I just can’t believe it!” said Stephens.

“I came into this meet hoping for three solid swims, to learn through the process – and to come away on top of the podium is kind of crazy.

“I had no expectations in terms of time, it’s February, so I couldn’t even come into this hoping for PBs or things like that. But that is a really solid swim, it’s a great way to start off the long-course season and hopefully I can just get faster and faster.

“This definitely gives me a lot of confidence towards Paris. If anything, it just makes me more excited to get back into the hard work, into the training and to keep on improving.”

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