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Friday, July 30, 1999 Published at 18:15 GMT 19:15 UK


Double silver for British swimmers

Palmer's 'go-faster' bodysuit has raised eyebrows in Istanbul

Britain struck silver twice at the European Championships in Istanbul on Friday after fine performances by both Paul Palmer and Zoe Baker.

Defending his 200 metres freestyle title, Palmer had to settle for second place in the final to Holland's Pieter Van den Hoogenband in one minute 48.01 seconds.

Palmer, who won gold in the 400m freestyle on Monday, saw Van den Hoogenband pick up his fourth gold of the week when he came home in 1:47.09. Italy's Massimiliano Rosolino (1:48.40) was third.

Duncan Goodhew tests the controversial new swim suit
Even Palmer's controversial full-body swimsuit which he says helps him move faster through the water was not enough to allow him to keep the title he won in 1997.

[ image: Palmer with the Olympic silver medal he won at Atlanta]
Palmer with the Olympic silver medal he won at Atlanta

He was nearly a second slower than the 21-year-old Dutchman.

Baker finished second behind Hungary's Agnes Kovacs in the women's 50m breaststroke. Janne Schaeffer of Germany claimed the bronze medal.

Baker, who lives in New Zealand, had been one of the favourites to win the event after setting a new European record when winning her semi-final.

Double Dutch

But Kovacs finished in 31.44sec - 0.01 outside the Briton's new mark - Baker in 31.53 and Schaeffer in 32.22.

The Dutch team were on fire again with Van den Hoogenband picking up his fourth gold and Inge De Bruijn setting a new European record.

Van den Hoogenband, known as the flying Dutchman, has proved a revelation in the men's events this week having toppled the mighty Alex Popov of Russia in the 100m freestyle. He also took gold in the 50m butterfly and the 4x100m freestyle relay.

Not to be outdone by her compatriot, De Bruijn shaved almost half a second off the women's 100m butterfly record of 58.92 which she had set just 24 hours earlier in the semi-final.

She clocked 58.49 to beat Johanna Sjoberg of Sweden (58.97) and Diana Mocanu of Romania (1:00.02).

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