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Swimming - 13. April 2008.

Simmonds smashes commonwealth record

Britain's Elizabeth Simmonds became the second fastest woman in history over 200m Backstroke as she swam an excellent race in this evening's final.

swimmingkirstycoventry.jpg
Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventy


Simmonds went into the final as the second fastest athlete behind Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry.

The double world champion, Coventry, hit the 100m mark well within world record time and claimed her third gold medal and second world record in a time of 2:00.91.

The British record holder, who also swam within the previous world standard time, touched in a time of 2:02.60 to claim the silver medal and smash the Commonwealth record by almost two seconds.

"I'm so delighted, it's so special to be in a race like that and to get a medal," Simmonds said.
"I wanted to maintain my own race and it went well. I closed kirsty down at the end. To go under the world record with someone like Kirsty is a real honour."

The bronze medal was claimed by America's Margaret Hoelzer in a time of 2:03.85.

On the eve of her 18th birthday Britain's Fran Halsall claimed the silver medal in the final of the women's 100m Freestyle.

In a race that Marleen Veldhuis dominated Halsall held her own and kept up with the high pace of the European champion.

Veldhuis turned for the final 50m within world record time, and after dropping her pace slightly in the last 25m claimed a championship record after touching in a time of 52.17.

Halsall smashed the British record she set in last night's semi-final after finishing in 52.79 to claim the silver medal.

"It was great to have everyone cheering, it pushed me all the way," Halsall said. "It's hard to get into lane four but once there its so choppy but I put in a good back end to take that silver."

Bronze went to Hanna-Maria Seppala in a time of 52.94.

The final of the women's 4x100m Medley relay saw Britain's team get off to an excellent start as Elizabeth Simmonds gave the girls the lead after the first 100m.

With Australia in the next lane, the young British team pushed on but found themselves over taken in the second leg by both the Australian and American teams.

The British girls showed their strength as they kept their high pace going to remain in place for a medal.

As they entered the final 100m, Fran Halsall showed no signs of fatigue as she powered on to claim Britain's fifth bronze of the competition in a time of 3:53.02.

The gold medal was claimed by the United States of America in a new world record time of 3:51.36 and silver was taken by Australia in 3:52.01.

Joanne Jackson looked strong in the final of the women's 400m Freestyle as she got an excellent start to position herself in third place as she touched for 100m.

Australia's Kylie Palmer dominated the race as she gained an early lead and extended it in the final 200m to almost one second.

Jackson showed her strength as she moved up to second place as she reached the 200m mark. She pushed hard but could not catch Palmer and the World Championship medallist took the gold in 3:59.23 to claim the new championship record.

As Jackson she entered the final 25m the finish of Romania's Alina Camelia Potec was too much for her and Potec took the silver in a time of 4:01.06, while Jackson took the final podium place with a time of 4:01.11.

"I thought I could go quicker out there tonight but I'm glad to better my British record and get a medal. I wish it was a different colour but I'm very tired after two tough weeks that last 25m were excruciating

Kate Haywood lowered the British record twice through the heats and the semi-final of the women's 100m Breaststroke. She touched in her semi-final in a time of 1:05.95 to take almost a second off the previous national standard. For the second time in two days she touched in the same time as a competitor and was touched alongside Austria's Mirna Jukic.

Kirsty Balfour finished in 10th place overall after touching in a time of 1:07.22 and just missed out on a place in tomorrow's final.
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