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Swimming - 10. August 2008.

British girls continue to shine

Following on from a record breaking morning at the Water Cube in Beijing, in
this evening's competition the strength of British Swimming was exhibited
with nine out of ten individual swimmers.

Team GB girls Gemma Spofforth and Lizzie Simmonds started the heats of this
evening in great style. Both girls qualified for tomorrow's semi-final of
the Women's 100m backstroke with Spofforth qualifying in sixth in 1:00.11
and Simmonds recording a personal best of 1:00.53, qualifying in twelfth
place. "I really really enjoyed that, the atmosphere is amazing, it is a
fantastic experience and I'm really pleased to have recorded a personal
best," said Simmonds. Spofforth also added that it was a great experience,
"I'm enjoying every second, the team behind us is great and tomorrow morning
[the semi-final] will be good."

The British pair will face a tough semi-final after three swimmers broke the
Olympic record in the heats. Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe, silver medallist
from Athens 2004, had a fantastic swim, qualifying fastest for the
semi-final with a new Olympic record of 59.00 seconds.


Vying for GB medley relay places, Kistry Balfour and Kate Haywood both
qualified for tomorrow's semi-finals in the Women's 100m breaststroke with
Haywood having a fantastic swim to qualify eleventh overall in 1:08.18 and
Balfour qualifying in fourteenth in 1:08.30. "I didn't know if I would make
the semi-finals, I hope that I swim better tomorrow morning and I need to
improve my finish. Anything can happen tomorrow" concluded Haywood. Balfour
was pleased with how her swim felt "its good to be racing, great to be here
and all my preparation has been geared towards swimming fast here so I'm
really pleased."

Leisel Jones of Australia qualified in first position for tomorrow's Women's
100m breaststroke breaking her own Olympic record in 1:05.64. She has been
dominant in the Women's breaststroke since 2005, is the current world record
holder, the reigning world champion and holds the fastest time of the year
at 1:05.34. There is expected to be a challenge mounted from Yulya Efimova
(Russian Federation) who set a new European record in 1:06.08.


The competition will be tough for Tancock and Tait in the Men's 100m
Backstroke, with American Matt Grevers qualifying for the semi-finals in
first, with a new Olympic record in 53.41. Russian Arkady Vyatchanin
qualified for the semi-final in second place with reigning Olympic and World
champion and current world record Aaron Peirsol (USA) qualifying in third.

In the Women's 400m freestyle Rebecca Adlington had a stunning swim pushing
Italian Federica Pellegrini all the way. On this occasion Pellegrini touched
ahead of Adlington in a new Olympic record of 4:02.19. Adlington touched in
4:02.24 and in doing so broke the British and Commonwealth record,
qualifying for tomorrow's final in second place. Jo Jackson also had a
fantastic swim in the same event, again exhibiting the strength of British
Swimming, this time in the female team, qualifying for the final in fourth
place, taking 1.5 seconds off her personal best, reducing it to 4:03.80. "I
was really pleased with my swim, I was very nervous before the race but I'm
really happy and excited" commented Jackson. Jackson and Adlington will be
swimming in tomorrow's final in neighbouring lanes. "I love that I'm in the
next lane to Jo, we are used to swimming next to each other. We battle off
each other and spur each other on one hundred percent" said Adlington.
Commenting on her own race she said "I'm so tired after that but really
happy, I wanted to improve my personal best which I have done. Tonight I
need to do a swim down, then return to the village and get as much rest as
possible before tomorrow's final."

In addition to Pellegrini, Katie Hoff (USA) and the unpredictable
ex-world-record holder Laure Manadou (France) cannot be discounted in what
is certain to be an exciting final.
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