Three days are in the books in Sheffield at Britain’s ASA Nationals, and three more swims were added to potential British Olympic qualifiers (pending approval from the Federation after the meet) on Friday, with two of them being brand-new additions to the team altogether: Stephanie Proud and Siobhan-Marie O’Connor.
Women’s 200 Backstroke
Former Florida Gator Stephanie Proud didn’t need to improve her time from March’s British Trials in London to make the team in this women’s 200 back. But that didn’t stop her from cutting half-a-second off of her time and posting a 2:09.40 to take the win and her spot in London.
The key for her in this race was not to panic. Britain has a ton of great sprint backstrokers, but is rather thin in the 200 (and those who they have weren’t at this meet). So even though Proud found herself in the midst of a nearly-even field (only 7-tenths separated 1st place from 10th place at the halfway mark), she had the good sense not to panic.
Well, actually, that may not be true – but whatever happened to her at the second turn worked.
She annihilated the 3rd 50 meters with a 32.65, which almost was dead-even with her second 50 meters, and put a huge gap between her and the field of sprinters before cruising to a victory.
She was 2nd at March’s Trials too, with an ‘A’ time (but not enough of an ‘A’ time), so she would have likely been safe either way.
Georgia Hohmann was 2nd here in 2:12.47, followed by Karley Mann in 2:12.62. The 2nd-through-5th place swimmers in this race were all 17-or-younger, showing a great future for continued success in British backstroking.
Men’s 50 freestyle
The big race that most were focused on for day 3 of these ASA Nationals was the men’s 50 free, featuring Britain’s best (only?) male sprinter Adam Brown. He took the win in this race in 22.36, which shaves .06 off of his best time but still puts him a bit short of the FINA Automatic standard.
British Swimming has hinted, though, that they might give him the opportunity to swim the race at the Olympics anyway, given an A time from last summer’s World Championships. Either way, he’s on the team safely for relays at least.
Jason Lawson had a best-time for 2nd in 22.73, followed by Matthew Tutty from Bolton in 22.84.
Women’s 100 Breaststroke
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor didn’t have a spot to take on Wednesday when she rocked a National Age Record in the 200 IM, but the same was not to be said in Friday’s 100 breaststroke. She went a 1:08.04 both for the win and for a FINA “A” time that should seal up her Olympic bid.
That swim is her best by more than a second, and most importantly is faster than the 1:08.44 that Sophie Allen swam at Britain’s first round of Trials. This means that it should be O’Connor who gets the second bid, rather than Allen who strangely didn’t swim this race at all.
O’Connor will join Kate Haywood, winner in March, on the British roster – which is not their only connection. O’Connor was a tenth under Haywood’s National Age Record for 17-year olds to mark her name again in the British record-books.
Stacey Tadd was 2nd, beating her best time as well with a 1:08.74.
Men’s 100 Back
Chris-Walker Hebborn, for the second straight day, added to his Olympic schedule with a 54.26 win in the men’s 100 back. With only Liam Tancock hitting the “A” time in March, this race was left wide-open for whoever cleared the 54.40 time-barrier for a trip to the Games.
Hebborn, on the back of his win in the 200, took this race out very well, and had no problem holding on to that lead on the return-trip. Ryan Bennett took 2nd in 54.63, with Marco Loughran 3rd in 54.99.
Loughran, the runner-up in the 200 back on Thursday, will be left with only the longer backstroke race to focus on for London.
Women’s 800 Free
The magical Rebecca Adlington tour continued today in Sheffield, as she swam an 8:19.03 to win the women’s 800 free. That is the 18th-fastest time in history globally, and her third time to break the 8:20 barrier in 2012. That’s truly stunning that even before getting to the games she can be so fast this many times.
For perspective, this was exactly the 25th swim in recorded history better than 8:20. Adlington is a holder of 10 of those times, four of which have been in textile. Both of those counts (overall and textile) is more barrier-clearing swims than anybody else in history. Even the great Janet Evans did it only three times in her career, though that was 25 years ago.
The runner-up was teenager Eleanor Faulknor in 8:35.83, though a quarter of the way through the race Adlington had already opened about a two body-length lead over her.
Men’s 400 IM
The National Age Record books continued to be assaulted at this meet, with Matthew Johnson in the men’s 400 IM pushing it to at least half-a-dozen records broken. He swam a 4:18.28 to win and break Roberto Pavoni’s 4:18.89 record that had stood since 2009.
Johnson is a great front-half IM’er, but he almost gave the race to Lewis Smith and the Ukraine’s Maksym Shembrev on the breaststroke leg. But his closing pace was enough to retake the lead at the final wall, with Smith taking 2nd in 4:18.33 and Shembrev 3rd in 4:18.45.
- Daniel Brady won the men’s 50 breaststroke in 28.97.
- Amy Smith won the women’s 50 free in 25.36.
Full Meet Results available here.
Day 6 only (in PDF) can be seen here.