Day 3 of the 2014 English Championships was highlighted by several career-best swims from event winners, a new English Record (by a wide margin), and Fran Halsall coming around with two very good swims.
Men’s 200 Fly – FINALS
Roberto Pavoni took his second win of this year’s championship meet with a 1:57.20 in the men’s 200 fly. That adds to his 400 IM win from Friday’s finals session.
Pavoni had a come-from-behind win over Joe Roebuck (1:57.28), as Roebuck led by almost half-a-second at the last turn. Roebuck’s finishing speed has been very inconsistent; in his best-ever time in this race, which is a 1:55.9 from 2012, he finished in a relatively-slow 30.80. At other times, he’s finished under 30 seconds (which is quite fast) and the end result wasn’t great. In general, Pavoni’s closing 50 has been a better indicator of the overall qualify of his swim, and in this case, Pavoni had the better last 50 and got the win.
Cameron Brodie took 3rd in 1:57.96, and the defending European Junior Champion Matthew Johnson was 4th in 1:59.05.
Women’s 50 Free – FINALS
Fran Halsall recovered from a challenging Friday to put in a big 24.51 to win the women’s 50 free on Saturday. That’s again not her best time this year after she was very sharp a month ago in Marseille, but it was much closer to the 4th-ranked 24.38 she swam at that meet.
2nd place in the race is Sian Harkin in 25.07. She’s a former Plymouth Leander swimmer who now trains at (and attends school at) the University of Stirling.
Veteran Amy Smith, the only swimmer in this final born before 1990, took 3rd in 25.09, and Rebecca Guy was 4th in 25.36.
Jessica Lloyd (25.54) and Lauren Quigley (25.57) were a bit off of the pace, and the top 8 was rounded out by Derby’s Harriet Cooper (25.78) and Loughborough’s Emma Wilkins (26.09).
Women’s 200 Breaststroke – FINALS
This women’s 200 breaststroke final was perhaps the most exciting final, for English fans at least looking toward the Commonwealth Games.
Sophie Taylor teased at this swim with a good 50 on Friday, and then went ahead and put up a 2:24.46 to win the women’s 200 breaststroke ahead of Molly Renshaw (2:25.10).
That time is so exciting because it absolutely crushed the English Record that Renshaw set in January of this year at the Flanders cup with a 2:26.38. Both swimmers, in fact, were well under that old record.
England does not have a strong history in women’s breaststroking; most of the talent has come from Scotland (Kirsty Balfour, Hannah Miley, Kerry Buchanan).
Renshaw’s swim also easily breaks her British Record for 17-year olds as well.
Danielle Lowe took 3rd in 2:28.28, and Aimee Willmott took 4th in 2:28.83. They are both English as well.
Hannah Miley took 5th in 2:29.31, and 14-year olds Emma Cain (:30.60) and Abbie Wood (2:30.67) were 6th and 7th, respectively.
Women’s 100 Back – FINALS
Georgia Davies broke a minute for the fourth time of her career with a lifetime-best of 59.78 in the women’s 100 backstroke. In 2011 and 2012, Davies was spot-on with hitting her best swims at the biggest meets (World Championships and the Olympics in those cases). In 2013, she was not so successful in that quest, and failed to make it out of the prelims at Worlds.
But the way that she handled this race, controlling the pace, and putting the gold away at the end, shows that last year might have just been an anomaly.
Lauren Quigley of Stockport took 2nd in 1:00.16, and Lizzie Simmonds took 3rd in 1:00.60.
Men’s 100 Breast – FINALS
Just as we talked about with the women historically, a lot of the men’s talent in the breaststroke currently lies in Scotland. The Scots took two of the top three spots in this race, and for the 2nd straight year at the British Championships it was Ross Murdoch who took the win.
This time, he knocked three-tenths off of his lifetime best with a 59.56, putting him just ahead of Adam Peaty in 59.79.
200 meter specialist Michael Jamieson, also Scottish, was 3rd in 1:00.53.
All three of those times are likely to get invited to the Commonwealth Games for their respective nations.
James Wilby took 4th in 1:00.84, and Robert Holderness was 5th in 1:01.14.
Craig Benson finished in 7th in 1:01.50.
- Just as in the 100 back, Chris Walker-Hebborn (25.20) and Liam Tancock (25.59) are linedup for a 1-2 finish in this 50 backstroke. Joe Patching (25.84) and Marco Loughran (25.92) will sit outside of them in the final.
- Swimming a few races after winning the 50 free final, Fran Halsall came back to easily take the top seed in the 50 fly with a 25.88. That’s a season-best for her, though it still leaves her 3rd in the World Rankings; more importantly, it’s the first time at this meet in which she’s gone a season-best time. 100 fly winner Rachael Kelly took 2nd in 26.68, and Amy Smith completed a Loughborough 1-2-3 with a 26.84 for the 3rd seed headed into Sunday’s final.
- Callum Jarvis took the top seed in the men’s 100 free, but a fantastic field made its way through to the final. Ben Proud is the 2nd seed in 49.69, Adam Brown is 3rd in 49.73, James Disney-May sits 4th in 49.74, and Adam Barrett is 5th in 49.88. Filling out the Final will be Grant Turner in 50.19, and a tie between Craig Gibbons and Jak Scott in 50.27. In Saturday’s final, watch the splits at the 50. If Jarvis is in the lead or close to the lead, the race should be his with most of the guys behind him having much better front-half speed but not closing quite as well.