Adlington doubles up as Olympic champion books 800m place with dominant display
22:00 GMT, 9 March 2012
Double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington overcame a bout of nerves to yet again produce a commanding performance in the 800 metres freestyle at the Olympic trials in London.
Adlington led from start to finish to book her second slot on the team after her 400m victory with 19-year-old runner-up Eleanor Faulkner also finishing inside the qualification time.
There was relief for European champion Lizzie Simmonds who qualified in the 200m backstroke after missing the cut in the 100m, while British record holder Michael Rock made it in the 100m butterfly.
Dominant: Rebecca Adlington (centre) comfortably won the 800m final to qualify for the Olympics
Adlington was never challenged, winning in eight minutes 18.54 seconds although she revealed she had suffered from such intense nerves before the race she had to speak to psychologist Simon Middlemass.
She said: 'I was more nervous for some reason today, I think it's because this event means so much to me.
'The 800 has always been the one I want to do well at and the one I've loved racing more than anything else so for me it was important to get in and enjoy it as well.
'But I was so nervous I had to speak to Simon my psychologist before the race and he told me to “man up”!'
While happy with the time, which was faster than the world trials this time last year, Adlington denied she was sending out a message to her rivals.
'I don't really think about other people. At the end of the day I am going to concentrate on my own race.
'I wasn't doing that for anyone else
but myself, I wanted to put in a good performance and swim what I know I
can and what I am capable of.'
Adlington also had to contend with hearing commentary done partly by her friend Jo Jackson during the race.
said: 'It was so bizarre. On the turns you could proper hear your name
and I was like “what's going on” – I thought something had happened, I
thought they were DQing us at the start. I'm not used to hearing people
Streets ahead: Addlington was never in danger of losing her lead in the 800m with Eleanor Faulkner second
Faulkner has had a superb week, 400m freestyle bronze followed by third place over four lengths which prompted tears on poolside.
The City of Sheffield swimmer was alone throughout the race in second, finishing with a new best of 8mins 27.11secs.
The 2009 European junior open water
champion, Faulkner will make her senior international long-course debut
at this summer's Olympics.
She said: 'I just wanted to go out there, give it my all and make the team.
been a lot of tears. It was unexpected and I was so happy and now I
have made it on my main event I am even more delighted.
'It took some time to realise I'd made the 4×2. It's still a shock, I still can't believe I made it.'
whose brother Joseph set a new best in the 1,500m freestyle heats,
added: 'Becky is an Olympic champion and she's been to these major meets
and knows what it's like.
'It was a target of mine to keep up with her and achieve my goals like she's achieved hers.'
It emerged later the reason for the
swimmers being able to hear the commentary was the underwater speakers
used in synchronised swimming had been left on after being tested.
Simmonds' dejection was plain for all
to see earlier this week after the 100m backstroke where her third
place left her precisely nowhere.
But in the 200m she went out like a train and was inside the British record at the final turn before tiring.
Lizzie Simmonds (centre) was triumphant in the 200m backstroke while Michael Rock also qualified (below)
Stephanie Proud could not catch her though, Simmonds finishing in 2:08.67, 1.27 ahead.
The 20-year-old said: 'Fantastic. A huge sigh of relief!
'I probably took a bit of knock really earlier in the week with that 100 although it was a decent swim.
'My coach and I had a bit of joke beforehand where we pretended it was just an open meet rather than the Olympic trials.
'It was just me having a blast. That's how I swim fast.'
Rock booked his spot in 52.02 after failing to make the 200m butterfly.
He said: 'It's been a disappointing couple of days and it was really important to regain my focus.
'There was some pressure tonight because of the 200 earlier in the week so I'm just overjoyed by everything tonight.'
Adam Brown won the 50m freestyle but 22.48 was outside the qualifying time.
Fran Halsall was quickest in the women's semi in 24.63.
In the multi-disability events, Sascha Kindred (SB7) won his third gold of the meet in the 100m breaststroke in a time of 1:23.73 which claimed him a total of 932 points.
Portsmouth's Amberley Hoar (SB14) stormed to victory in the women's race in 1:23.21 to take 940 points.