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Jackson storms to 200m Free victory
Olympic bronze medallist Joanne Jackson clocked her quickest time for
two years to clinch the 200m Freestyle title at the British Gas ASA
National Championships in Sheffield.
British Gas ITC Loughborough's Jackson looked relaxed as she qualified
fastest from the morning heats before dominating the final to touch home
And after ducking under the qualification time for this summer's World
Championships in Shanghai, the British record holder admitted she was
looking ahead with confidence.
"That's a great swim which puts me on the team for Shanghai," Jackson
said. "This time last year I didn't think it would happen as I was
struggling with health and form so to overturn that with a best time in
two years is a great achievement.
"There were some fantastic performances in that final. It was great to
see Caitlin and Rebecca pushing hard. It looks great for the relay."
The silver medal went to Caitlin McClatchey (Loughborough University) in
1:58.56 and Rebecca Turner (City of Sheffield) won the bronze in
The 100m Backstroke saw Lizzie Simmonds (British Gas ITC Loughborough)
fighting for the final qualification spot for Shanghai.
Simmonds, who just missed the selection time in Manchester, went into
the final with confidence after qualifying in first and led through the
She turned almost a second ahead of the field and maintained her pace to
win gold in an season's best 59.86.
"I'm not quite as big as some of the other girls in the field so I spend
a lot of time on my skills to make sure I can keep up with their power,"
"I think I showed tonight that it's serving me well. That's a great time
and puts me on to the World Championship team.
"I didn't have a good start to the season but I've turned it around. I'm
enjoying my swimming and it's translating into my performance."
Ealing's Ekaterina Avramova won the silver medal in 1:01.53 and bronze
was taken by Rachel Lefley (Loughborough University) in 1:01.67.
The closest final of the evening was the 100m Butterfly which saw
British record holder Fran Halsall and Welsh record holder Jemma Lowe
battle for gold.
Halsall led from the gun and touched first at the half-way turn but Lowe
stormed back in the second 50m to take the victory on the touch in a new
Welsh record of 57.43.
"It's been a really good day for me all round," Lowe said. "My Mum and
Dad just turned up to see me swim after rushing from my sister's X
Factor audition where she got through to the next round. That was a big
PB and a Welsh record.
"The last time I showed this kind of form was three years ago. I've been
trying to step it up ever since I return to the UK and tonight's swim
was just fantastic. Ellen, Fran and me just show what depth of
talent we have in the country these days. And in such strong competition
I am delighted to have made the team."
Halsall touched just 0.01 seconds outside of Lowe in 57.44 to take
silver. Bronze went to Jessica Sylvester in 1:00.61
Siobhan Marie O'Connor (British Gas ITC Bath) won gold ahead of City of
Sheffield's Lucy Spencer in the women's 200m Individual Medley.
The 15-year old led throughout the race after qualifying third fastest
for the final. She touched in a time of 2:14.14 to win her title.
"I haven't rested for this meet so I'm stunned to have swam so fast,"
O'Connor said. "The aim was to swim well, not to make the World
"I'm amazed to make the senior qualifying time. I'm due to swim in the
European Juniors next month but will sit down with my coach now to
discuss what will be the main focus this year. I'm just so shocked."
Spencer won the silver in 2:14.36 and Sophie Allen (British Gas ITC
Stockport) won the bronze in 2:14.45.
Anastasia Christoforou (Bath University) won the gold medal in the
women's 50m Breaststroke with a quick 32.04.
She finished ahead of Kathryn Johnstone (Edinburgh University) who
finished in 32.27 and Ealing's Georgia Heyn in 32.30.
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