Britons win first international titles

Tom Hamer

Hamer took silver in the 200m freestyle S14 at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014

Matt Wylie and Tom Hamer claimed their first major international titles as Britain won four golds on the opening day of the IPC Swimming European Open Championships in Madeira.

Wylie, 19, took victory in the S9 50m freestyle while Hamer, 17, triumphed in the S14 200m freestyle.

Paralympic champion Jonathan Fox marked his return from injury with gold in the S7 100m backstroke.

And Scotland’s Andrew Mullen retained his S5 50m butterfly crown.

There were also silvers for Jessica-Jane Applegate (S14 200m freestyle) and Ollie Hynd (S8 100m freestyle).

Wylie, who set a new British record of 25.69 seconds in recording a Rio qualification time at last week’s British Paralympic swimming trials in Glasgow, was the fastest qualifier from the morning heats.

He finished strongly in the final in a time of 25.85secs to edge out Finland’s Leo Lahteenmaki by 0.27secs.

“I couldn’t be happier with that really,” said the Sunderland swimmer. “I’m in a good place at the moment.

“I didn’t expect to win that race. I did expect to swim a little bit faster than that but coming away with the gold is really good.”

Hamer, who also managed a Rio qualification time in Glasgow, had a superb final 50m to overhaul Iceland’s Paralympic champion Jon Margeir Sverrisson by 0.10secs in a thrilling finish.

“I went out easy in the heats this morning to save all of my energy for the final and it paid off,” he said.

“I’m over the moon with the gold and it’s given me confidence for the rest of the season.”

Fox, who had almost three years out with a shoulder injury, was satisfied with his victory over Andrei Gladkov of Russia who had taken Fox’s European and world crowns in the Briton’s absence.

“Having to miss the Europeans in 2014 and the worlds in 2015 was tough but I’m back,” said Fox. “Coming here and seeing the results of my training paying off is very satisfying.”

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