Swimmer Freya wins Commonwealth Games gold in team relay
A Grantham swimmer won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games on Sunday.
Eighteen-year-old former Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School student Freya Colbert was part of the England team who contested the 4x200m freestyle relay final.
She teamed up with Tamryn Van Selm, Abbie Wood and Freya Anderson to secure third place and bronze, finishing behind winners and new world record setters Australia and silver medallists Canada.
The quartet were the third fastest team heading into the final and claimed their deserved place on the podium, finishing in 7min 57.11sec.
England were trailing in fourth position before Wood joined the action in the third leg and she instantly closed the gap on the South African team.
This came after Grantham’s Freya just missed out on a medal in Friday’s women’s 400m individual medley final.
She had qualified in style for the final, winning heat two at Sandwell Aquatics Centre, Smethwick, in 4min 42.64sec, qualifying for the final fourth fastest and setting the mark for Team England.
After qualifying for the final, Freya said: “I’m really happy with that, it was quite close to my PB. With the crowd and everything, I was just excited to get in there and give it my best shot.
“We had a little rest into Worlds but we focused on this one more because there are bigger opportunities, the chance to make finals, home Games.
“My family and friends are here and I really wanted to show off in front of them. It’s paid off because I’m three seconds quicker than at Worlds.”
Freya was hoping to put in a similar or even better performance in the final to be truly in with a shout of a medal.
The main obstacle in the way of Freya taking absolute glory with gold was Canada’s Summer McIntosh who had won heat one in a speedy 4.36.72.
As it turned out, Freya did improve on her qualifying time when it came to the final, recording a big personal best of 4.39.80.
But sadly it was not enough to claim a medal, with fourth-placed Freya just missing out on the bronze by less then half a second to Scotland’s Katie Shanahan, after having moved up to third at the 300m turn
As expected, Canadian prodigy Summer McIntosh won the gold medal with an astounding Games record 4.29.01, with Australia’s Kiah Melverton (4.36.78) taking the silver.
Freya said: “I’m holding back tears but also really happy. I wanted to go sub-4.40 so I’m very pleased with that.
“After the heat, I thought maybe I could inch up to third but just got touched out by Katie [Shanahan], not for the first time – we’ve been racing since we were 14 or 15.
“At least it [bronze] went to one of the home nations. I’m very happy for her, she’s overjoyed.”
Freya was overwhelmed with the whole experience of being in a Commonwealth Games final – and on home soil.
She added: “It’s my first major final, I wasn’t fortunate enough to make the World Championship final a few weeks ago.
“It’s something like no other with a home crowd, with all my family up there – it was so loud, it was unbelievable. Such a good experience.”
A former member of Grantham Swimming Club, Freya trains with Nottingham-based club Nova Centurion.