By Tom Degun

junior_swimming_11-07-11July 10 - Britain's young swimmers took full advantage of the opportunity to show their class at the European Junior Championships in Belgrade as they claimed a total of six gold medals to finish at the top of the standings ahead of Italy and Germany respectively.

The 28-strong team secured 85 personal bests in a fantastic week that saw them top the medal table for the first time in three years, with a total of 19 medals, showing they have the potential to force their way into the senior team for the London 2012 Olympics next year.

The final day of competition saw Britain take four medals with Siobhan-Marie O'Connor, the standout performer for Britain, topping her successful week by taking her third gold medal of the Championships by winning the 200 metre individual medley just outside of the Championship record.

"I wanted to break the record but it's been a long week so I'm happy with the win," she said.

"I really went for it and on the final leg I could feel them coming back at me so I dug deep and got the win.

"I'm really happy."

Craig Benson of Warrender was also in fast form as he shaved more time off his personal best in the 100m breaststroke final to take silver.

"This has been the best week of my life," he said.

"My aim was to get medal and I got silver and a handful of PBs so I'm really chuffed."

In the 400m individual medley, Dan Wallace took a well-deserved bronze medal after taking a huge four seconds off the best time he set in the heats to finish in 4.20.60 behind Maxym Shemberyev of Ukraine and Eduardo Solaeche of Spain.

"That was faster than I thought I could go," he said.

"I've taken six seconds off my entry time.

"It was all about the time tonight - that was my aim.

"It started to really hurt during the last 100m but I dug in and stuck with it.

"I'm absolutely over the moon with my medal."

Jessica Fullalove was also in a medal winning mood as the Manchester swimmer put in fantastic effort to take silver in the 100m backstroke in a new personal best of 1.020.75 as she finished just behind Mie Nielsen of Denmark.

"It was great," she said.

"I went out aiming for a personal best tonight, not a medal or a place but I knew if I did a good time, I'd do well in the results.

"I held my nerves and it paid off, I'm so happy."

Mark Perry, British Swimming development coach, admitted he was very delighted with the final results that saw Britain come out top at the competition

"The team stuck together on the final night," he said.

"They all raised their game and helped to consolidate our position at the top of the medal table with some unexpected results and a great overall team performance.

"Siobhan topped off a great week with another gold medal in the 200m individual medley and there were some fantastic medals from Craig Benson, Dan Wallace and Jessica Fullalove in personal best times.

"Unfortunately, there were a lot of fourth places so we need to work on that to improve our podium hit rate next time.

"The professionalism and dedication of the British Swimming staff helped to create a team environment to allow swimmers to do their best and achieve this fantastic result."

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