Rodgers wins fifth European IPC gold

Susie Rodgers

Two more golds for Rodgers took her tally to five on the final day

Susie Rodgers and Steph Millward both won two more golds as Great Britain finished on a high at the IPC Swimming Open European Championships in Madeira.

Rodgers, 32, claimed the S7 50m freestyle before anchoring the medley relay team to success to take her tally to five golds in total.

Millward, 34, won the S9 400m freestyle and joined Rodgers, Claire Cashmore and Harriet Lee in the relay.

Steph Slater won Britain’s other gold with success in the S8 50m freestyle.

There were silvers for Ellie Robinson (S6 50m butterfly) and Bethany Firth in the SM14 200m individual medley, the latter finishing ahead of team-mate Jessica-Jane Applegate, while Tom Hamer (SM14 medley) and Andrew Mullen (S5 50m freestyle) won bronze.

It means GB end the event, the last major test before September’s Rio Paralympics, with 46 medals, including 22 golds.

“I just gave it everything and it’s great to end the week on a high,” said Rodgers, who beat Germany’s Denise Grahl by 0.45 seconds to retain the individual title she won in Eindhoven two years ago.

“I like when it is a tight race – it can be hard when you’ve just got the clock and nothing else.”

GB set down relay marker

In the relay, Millward gave Britain a solid start and they were second after the first 100m before Lee put the quartet into the lead.

She and Cashmore gave Rodgers a sizeable 11-second advantage and the latter held on in the freestyle despite the Russian team closing.

“It means the world,” added Rodgers. “These girls were amazing. I always need them to give me a great leg and they really did and they gave me such a lead so I just needed to hang on.”

“As a team we really wanted to show our dominance going into Rio,” said Cashmore. “I think we definitely did that.”

While national performance director Chris Furber was delighted with the team’s display, he knows there are more difficult tests ahead this summer.

“We’ve benchmarked ourselves against some of the best in the world and we now need to continue the momentum between now and Rio,” he said.

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