The second round of British qualifying is underway in Sheffield, England, where more swimmers could be named to the 2012 British Olympic Team.
Men’s 400 Free
The first big Olympic spot went to David Carry in the men’s 400 free, as he crushed his personal best from Beijing with a 3:46.86 in the men’s 400 free. That oudueled another best time from a swimmer 12-years his junior Ieuan Lloyd, who was 2nd in 3:48.10.
Lloyd’s time was also a personal best. This was expected to be one of the most intense battles of the whole meet, with both swimmers having been under the FINA “A” time at the first round of qualifying in March (but neither fast enough to seal up a second spot behind Robbie Renwick). The battle lived up to every bit of that hype, until the last 50 meters.
Not only is that swim outstanding, but it moves him to 9th in the world this year – just behind Renwick in fact. In an event where the Brits might not have been certain of any finalists, it now looks like they might have two if everything goes to plan. This will be Carry’s third Olympic Team.
The pair was separated by less than tenth of a second as their feet hit the final wall, but the wiley veteran, 31-year old Carry, exploded on his final 50 with a 27.74 to take the win.
Women’s 100 Back
Though not for any Olympic berths (Gemma Spofforth and Georgia Davies sealed those up), Lizzie Simmonds looks like she’s on fire. Reports are that there’s no taper, but she did still win the women’s 100 back in 59.89 to win the women’s 100 backstroke and move her into a tie for 8th in the world this year.
That includes being the first Brit under a minute in 2012. Davies, despite having a roster spot locked up, did swim this race and placed 2nd in 1:00.60.
Simmonds swam very well at this meet last year, and was right around the same time in fact. She didn’t go out particularly hard, and was only 3rd at the turn. But she closed in a 30.1 (nearly negative splitting the 29.7 open) to wow the crowd in Sheffield. We’ll now have to wait and see what she does in the 200 – her better event. It will also be interesting to see if this gives the British coaching staff some pause to consider Simmonds on the medley relay, even though she’s not swimming the 100 back individually.
16-year old Lauren Quigley took 3rd in 1:00.72, which is a personal best for her. She just turned 17 two months ago, which keeps that from being a new British 16 & under record, but she is still the fastest 17-year old we’ve seen since Simmonds herself with that personal best.
Women’s 200 IM
One of the major candidates in the running for the title of next big British Swimming star is Siobhan-Marie O’Connor; the 16-year old is an IM queen, and with her last chance to make the Olympic Team coming later in this meet in the 100 breaststroke, she’s unleashing upon the field in Sheffield. That began with a 2:11.86 in the 200 IM after breaking the race wide-open on the backstroke leg from runner-up Stacey Tadd (2:15.39).
For O’Connor, that time is a best by a second-and-a-half and destroys her own 16-years old record of 2:13.12. This swim was so good, in fact, that it actually is better than Sophie Smith’s 17-years old record set in March, and very nearly gets Hannah Miley’s 18-years old record.
The only small consolation for such a top-notch swim is that even done in March, that wouldn’t have been good enough to knock off Sophie Allen or Hannah Miley for the Olympic spot; however this gives her great hope for the 100 breaststroke on Friday (her best already is a 1:09.10).
Men’s 100 Breaststroke
Here was another spot, recently opened, for Olympic qualifying in the men’s 100 breaststroke, after Daniel Sliwinski ceded his swim from March’s Trials to have surgery on an ailing shoulder. The challenge is that nobody was prepared to swim it with the announcement coming so recently.
Michael Jamieson, surprisingly, didn’t even attempt this race, even though he was the third-fastest in March with a 1:00.50. Richard Webb won the race in Sheffield in 1:01.64. Though British Swimming’s initial statement was that “the spot would be decided at ASA Nationals,” one has to believe that Jamieson will get it despite not swimming.
Norway’s Aleksander Hetland was 2nd in 1:02.24.
Women’s 200 Free
Rebecca Adlington swam ger fastest 200 free since 2010 to win here in 1:58.68, just ahead of Rebecca Turner in 1:59.11.
That result locks up the second individual spot for Caitlin McClatchey. It does, however, give Adlington an opportunity to maybe swim on this relay at the Olympics, as she’s the 4th-best Brit in the race in 2012. She didn’t even attempt the race in March though, so it’s not clear where her intentions are.
Women’s 50 Breaststroke
Normally, 50’s are not all-than notable at Olympic qualifying meets. But we can’t overlook what a trio from Edinburgh University did in this women’s final. Kathryn Johnstone, Andrea Strachan, and Corrie Scott are all teammates and went 1-2-3 in this race. That includes a National Record by Johnstone of 31.69, and Strachan going under the old mark with a 31.81 for 2nd. That pair now sits 5th and 6th, respectively, on the all-time British list in the event.
- Tilly Gray won the women’s 100 fly in 1:00.42, though Jessica Sylvester was faster in prelims with a 59.78 (but scratched finals).
- Luke Wood from Salford won the men’s 50 back in 25.77