Friday, March 11, 2011

London 2012 Olympics: Rebecca Adlington Comlpetes European Titles Hat-trick Ready to Rock Olympics

ALL that glitters is gold for Rebecca Adlington – she's now conquered Britain, Europe and the former Empire in the past 12 months.

And now she wants to take on the world.

The 22-year-old completed a golden hat-trick at the British Gas Swimming Championships in Manchester last night – romping to 800m freestyle gold to add to her 200m and 400m victories.

Poolside murmurs hinted her world record, set en route to Olympic gold in Beijing, was in danger but while she blew her British rivals out of the water, that will have to wait.

Not that she was in the slightest bit bothered. For that was set in the lightning fast Water Cube and before polyurethane became prohibited. Still, Adlington's winning time was 8:20.23 minutes was too hot for the rest to handle.

Adlington thrives when she races the clock rather than her rivals. Just as she did in Beijing, she streaked clear of the field last night and ate up all 16 lengths of the Manchester Aquatics Centre pool.

"It wasn't an easy race because some of the other British girls are very strong and I expected it to be closer than it was," said Adlington.

"I had a little look at my time at the halfway stage and thought I was going a bit quickly but it's not always easy when you're out there on your own."

Jaz Carlin trailed home a full 5.44 seconds adrift while Keri-Anne Payne completed the podium in third.

But what a difference a year makes for Adlington. After getting it all wrong over 800m at the European Championships she cut a forlorn figure in Budapest – and it was fast becoming a familiar sight.

She roared back to secure the 400m title however and followed that up with two gold and two bronze medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games when she added the freestyle relay to her three individual events.

Adlington fully intends to do so again at next year's Olympics but, before she makes a four-pronged assault on London 2012, this summer's World Championships beckon – and she's admits she's got some unfinished business.

"Hopefully it will be third time lucky in Shanghai," added Adlington, who could only manage two bronze medals at teary 2009 World Championships in Rome.

"I'm just looking forward to getting out there and racing. Without the suits I don't really think anyone is interested in times, I'm certainly not. All I want to do is get out there and race like I did here."

Meanwhile, fellow Nova Centurion swimmer Jess Sylvester, who along with Adlington won 4x100m freestyle silver at last October's Commonwealth Games, bagged 50m butterfly gold last night.

The 23-year-old touched home in 27.37 seconds to take victory ahead of Youth Olympian Rachael Kelly before returning to the pool to advance to the 50m freestyle final, clocking 26.21.

"I'm enjoying myself here," said Sylvester. "My 100m races aren't really going that well at the moment but my 50s are. That is a positive to take from this."

In the 800m, Nottingham's Sasha Matthews came seventh in 8:42.93, 22.7 seconds behind Adlington.

The nation's leading energy supplier British Gas is the principal partner of British Swimming.

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