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Adlington For Relay; Carry Makes The Cut

Jun 20, 2012  - Craig Lord

Rebecca Adlington, double Olympic champion in 2008, added a third event to her London 2012 schedule by winning the ASA national 200m freestyle title at Sheffield, England, her 1:58.68 securing a berth in the 4x200m. 

Adlington withdrew from the 200m at British trials in March to conserve her energy for her two solo events, the 400m and 800m freestyle. In her absence, the 200m crown went to another Rebecca, Turner, of Sheffield, who today led at the 100m mark in 57.19, with Adlington on 58.30.

But as coach to Adlington Bill Furniss has noted on many occasions: his charge is a racer even at a time when sets of 30x100s and much more are weighing heavily. Still 1.22sec down at the last turn, Adlington then roared past Turner with a 29.02 last lap, a reminder of the kind of speed that settled the argument with Lotte Friis (DEN) on the way to the world 800m title in Shanghai last year.

The relay is on the cards for Adlington, heats or finals. At her very best over 800m is when she was at her very best over 200m - and at her very best over 200m she is indispensable if Britain is to have a chance of muscling in on medals in a world dominated by the US, Australia and China, with France also among those stronger than Britain heading into London 2012.

The 4x200m free relay was a shambles for Britain in 2008: the  heats swimmers under-performed and missed the cut for the final. Aware of that and her own campaign as 400m and 800m defending champion, Adlington said: "I'd love to be part of that relay but I have got my individual races to concentrate on. I think at the Olympics they will probably swim the fastest four in the heats. We have no choice if we are to make the final.

"We've made some mistakes in the 4x2 before by swimming different swimmers and resting the good swimmers but I think rightly so we put the fastest four in," she added. "If they want to include me in the heat then brilliant, if not I think they need to swim the fastest four, so we'll see what their decision is and what they are going to do with that."

Turner settled for silver behind Adlington today in 1:59.11, with Lucy Ellis on 1:59.14 (with a worryingly incorrect 1:12.56 on the result sheet for the 150m split), that locking out Jazmin Carlin, who looks likely to have to sit Olympic summer out of the limelight this year, the 200m offering her a last chance of a role at a home Games. 

Adlington will be bridesmaid at the wedding of the next swimmer to celebrate a London 2012 line this evening. David Carry, former Commonwealth champion for Scotland and based with Lars Humer and Sean Kelly of Stockport, booked a berth on the London 2012 team alongside fiancee Keri-Anne Payne with a 3:46.86 victory in the 400m freestyle, the time just outside the top 10 in the world this year. That he has made the Olympic team is one thing, even better in pure swim terms is that the 30-year-old has never swum faster: his 2008 LZR best was a 3:47.17, his textile best a 3:47.40 from 2007.

Ieuan Lloyd, of Cardiff, took second in 3:48.10 (inside the time cut but no 400m berth at London, Robbie Renwick having sealed the No1 spot at trials in March on 3:46.73), with third going to Sergii Frolov (UKR) in 3:52.12. Lloyd pressed Carry all the way, the two turning all but level at 200m on 1:52. By the 300m mark, Carry was 0.46sec behind Lloyd and with 50m to go was still 0.07sec down - but ready to make it count. Carry's last lap of 27.74 mirrored his determination to be at the side of his bride-to-be at the second-best party of his year: the best sports party of them all.

The 100m backstroke told a story of opportunity lost: Elizabeth Simmonds missed the cut at trials, as Gemma Spofforth and Georgia Davies claimed the top two berths a fingernail ahead of her and closed the door on selection. Today, Simmonds became the first Brit to break the minute this year with a 59.89 victory ahead of Davies, on 1:00.60 and with nothing to prove. The bronze went to a name to watch: 17-year-old Lauren Quigley, of Manchester, on 1:00.72.

Progress came too late and too for 17-year-old Siobhan-Marie O'Connor but watch for the all-rounded based at Bath University: on 2:11.86 (28.63, 1:01.31, 1:39.74) she entered the top 20 in the world for the first time. Hannah Miley won trials in 2:10.77, with a 2:11.71 from Sophie Allen claiming the second London 2012 berth for Britain.

O'Connor was a league apart, the silver going to Bath teammate and London 2012 team member (200m breaststroke) Stacey Tadd, 2:15.39, with Lucy Spencer third in 2:15.44.

A 1:01.64 victory for Richard Webb, of Swansea Performance Centre, delivered the 100m breaststroke title but there will be no London 2012 ticket: the time misses the cut and while Dan Sliwinski, winner of trials back in March on 1:00.09, went under the knife for a shoulder injury this week and will not race at his home Games, the team already includes the likely candidate for the second berth in the 100m. In March, Craig Benson took the second berth in a Scottish record of 1:00.47, with Michael Jamieson third in 1:00.50. Jamieson, on 2:09, in the 200m, is already on the team.

Second today in Sheffield, Aleksander Hetland (NOR) clocked 1:02.24, ahead of 200m London 2012 teamsters Andrew Willis, on 1:02.40.

In the last final of the evening, the London 2012 crew stepping aside, Loughborough's Tilly Gray took the 100m butterfly in 1:00.42, Elena Sheridan, 17, second in 1:00.68, Rachel Lefley third in 1:01.21.