More swimming gold for France and Britain

Budapest: World champion Gemma Spofforth handed Britain its fourth gold medal at the European championships, pipping compatriot Elizabeth Simmonds to win the 100m backstroke in 59.80sec.

Simmonds had to be content with silver after touching in 1:00.19 with Germany`s Jenny Mensing third in 1:00.72 as Spofforth claimed revenge for her loss to her fellow Briton in the 200m backstroke.

"It was a hard race but it`s good to come out the best," said Spofforth. "I would have preferred two golds, but you`ve got to share them."

The win briefly sent the British to the top of the medals standings and more than made up for the fact that double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington has yet to find her form as she places her primary focus on the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in October.

France promptly joined the British contingent on four golds when Camille Lacourt won the 50m backstroke, but there was further British joy as Liam Tancock snatched silver ahead of Israel`s Guy Marcos Barnea.

Lacourt has been in tremendous form this week, winning the 100m backstroke on Tuesday, he and came within three hundredths of a second of Tancock`s world record, timing 24.07sec.

Thursday`s time was all the more notable for coming in a year which started with the abolition of the go-faster polyurethane bodysuits which had previously facilitated a welter of world records.

Lacourt`s 52.11sec in the backstroke was the first European record to be set since the suits were banned from January.

Also triumphing were Hungarians Katinka Hosszu and Daniel Gyurta, who wowed their home fans by garnering gold in the 200m individual relay and 200m breaststroke.

Hosszu triumphed in 2min 10.09sec, leading home a Hungarian one-two with compatriot Evelyn Verraszto just 0.01sec adrift.

Britain`s Hannah Miley took the bronze in 2:10.89 as the 21-year-old Scot added this podium placing to Monday`s gold in the 400m individual medley when she saw off world champion Hosszu.

World champion Gyurta won his race in 2min 08.95sec with silver going to Alexander Dale Oen in 2:09.68 while Frenchman Hugues Duboscq managed bronze in 2:11.03 as the triple Olympic podium finisher landed the 12th individual medal of his career.

Danish world champion Lotte Friis pocketed the women`s 800m freestyle gold in a time of 8:23.27, with France`s Ophelie-Cyrielle Etienne taking silver ahead of Italy`s Federica Pellegrini, who just edged Irish 17-year-old Grainne Murphy out of bronze.

Adlington could only manage seventh in that race in her first final of the week.

It was here in 2006 where she landed silver to first catch the eye before her blaze of glory in Beijing two summers later.

Poland`s Pawel Korzeniowski won the gold medal in the 200m butterfly, timing 1min 55sec, with silver going to Russia`s Nikolay Skvortsov and outgoing champion Ioannis Drymonakos of Greece claiming bronze.

Bureau Report

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