Rebecca Adlington has started the defence of her 800m freestyle title by posting the fastest time in this morning’s heats.
Adlington, who won double gold in Beijing, considers the 800m freestyle her strongest event. She is the current world record holder, world and Olympic champion at this distance.
Earlier this week she failed to defend her 400m title but did pick up a very credible bronze.
Adlington, racing in the final heat of the morning, swam the fastest time of 8:21.78, with Denmark’s Lotte Friis 8:21.89 and the US’s Katie Ledecky in 8:23.84.
Adlington and Friis have an on-going rivalry with the Dane currently holding the 800m European title.
Speaking to the BBC afterwards Adlington said, “Lotte is so lovely. We’ve been racing each other since the European juniors in 2004. One year I win, the next year she wins. I’m going to give it my all in the final, it’s all about who can get that finish.”
Friis also commented, “I hope I can improve on my bronze in Beijing. Rebecca Adlington is the main competition; she’s the home crowd favourite and Olympic champion. I am not underestimating her in any way.”
Ledecky is the youngest swimmer in the American team and won the US trials in 8:19.78, she said; “This is my first international competition so to be at an Olympic Games is really great. I was a little nervous. I had a lot of adrenalin. I might have kicked out a little fast.”
GB’s Ellie Faulkner was also competing in her first Olympic Games and swam a credible 8:38.00, putting her in 22nd position. The nineteen year old has a bronze medal form the 2010 Singapore Youth Olympics in the 400m freestyle.
The final will take place tomorrow night at 19:45.
In the 200m backstroke both Lizzie Simmonds and Steph Proud qualified for tonight’s semi-final.
The Women’s Sports Magazine