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Swimming - 03. April 2008.

RECORDS BROKEN AS SWIMMERS TAKE STEP CLOSER TO BEIJING




The third day of the British Swimming Championships (50m) saw three Commonwealth records broken and nine more athletes achieve the qualifying standard for nomination to the British Olympic squad.

In order to make the Olympic team, athletes must finish in first or second place in the final of their event and have met the FINA 'A' time for that event in the heat.

Rebecca Adlington went into this morning's final as the fastest qualifier after breaking the British record in the heats. The Nova Centurion swimmer looked confident from the start and gained a significant lead over her closest rival Joanne Jackson (Derwentside) after 250m where Adlington began pulling away.

Adlington, who was pushed on by the noise from the supporters, turned for the final 50m in the lead and within the Commonwealth record time. She broke the record by almost half a second after finishing with a time of 4:04.50.

"That felt a lot better than yesterday which helped me to drop the record even further," she said. "To do that as a morning swim gives me a lot of confidence. I desperately wanted to go faster today and it all looks really good for my 800m event. I have never really thought about the 400m event but that has all certainly changed after this week."

Jackson finished well to ensure her second spot and the silver medal after finishing in 4:08.75.

Loughborough University's Caitlin McClatchey claimed the bronze medal touching in 4:14.77.

With four women meeting the FINA 'A' qualifying time in the 100m Backstroke competition for the top two spots was tough. It was British record holder Gemma Spofforth (Portsmouth) that had the best start and after touching first for the first 50m she looked on course to break her British record for the second time in two days.

Elizabeth Simmonds was close behind Spofforth on the turn and began closing the gap in the final 50m. But Spofforth's finish was too much for Simmonds and she took the gold in 59.90.

The Lincoln Vulcans swimmer Simmonds showed her determination as she fought off the challenge of Mel Marshall (Loughborough University) and Katy Sexton (Portsmouth) to take second place in the race. She touched in 1:00.66 and at 17-years-old finds herself up for nomination to this year's Olympic squad.

Bronze was claimed by Sexton who finished in 1:01.56.
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