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Bennett swims into Commonwealth contention

19 Aug 2010
Ryan Bennett swam his way into Commonwealth contention on day two of the British Gas ASA National Championships when he met the selection criteria to be picked for Team England.

Swimming at the Sunderland Aquatic Centre, the British Gas ITC Stirling athlete took over a second off his personal best in the Men's 200m Backstroke after leading from the halfway point to touch in 1:59.12.

“My head is literally thumping,” said Bennett. “I put so much into that swim and after being so close so many times it’s nice to make the qualification.

“It means everything to me, sometimes you think ‘is it ever going to happen?’ but I proved that tonight and there’s still more to come.

“It was close to a two second best time for me, I just wanted it so bad and needed to prove myself.

“Over the past few years I’ve had lots of different coaches but being at the British Gas ITC Stirling I just feel like I’m working with the best coach in the world in Doug Frost.

“Everything is clicking into place after being with Doug for the past 12 months and it means everything to make that time.”

Silver went to Marco Loughran, who claimed gold yesterday in the 50m Backstroke, touching in 1:59.98 and Scott Hathaway claimed bronze in 2:01.37.

Georgia Davies lowered her own Welsh record and claimed her second title of the Championships as she went in the Women’s 50m Backstroke.

The British Gas ITC Swansea swimmer left the blocks quickly as she held a strong lead over the rest of the field touching in a time of 28.40.

Emma Saunders (City of Manchester) took silver in 29.27 with Katrina Alder (City of Salford) coming in third with 29.42.

I felt good out there,” said Davies. “It was a little PB from the trials in Sheffield.

“Having already qualified for the Commonwealths I’m just having a great time out there. I’m more confident than ever not only because of my times but because I believe in myself more.

“I wasn’t expecting to go as fast here so it’s a little bonus to get the record. Everything now is just focussed on competing in October. I’m really excited!”

Kate Hutchinson swam a fast final 100m to come back from fourth place in the Women’s 200m Breaststroke earning her the gold medal.

The Loughborough University swimmer found herself near the back of the field but her strength over the final two lengths saw her come through for a win in 2:31.22.

Silver went to Nova Centurion’s Emma Bird in 2:31.81 with Sara Lougher (Bridgend City) taking bronze in 2:34.88.

“My coach and I came up with a few tactics before the race,” said Hutchinson. “I always have a strong back end so I wanted to go into it easy and build up the speed.

“I wanted to make the qualification time at the trials in Sheffield but that didn’t happen, so I’ve been training hard for this.

“Hopefully it will be enough to be selected but I have no idea. I’m just so chuffed to have won.”

City of Manchester’s Emma Saunders extended her fantastic season as she swam to the national title in the Women’s 100m Freestyle.

The 16-year-old took four medals earlier this year at the European Junior Championships and came to Sunderland looking for a spot on the Commonwealth Team.

A slow start saw Saunders turn in fifth position, but a strong back end saw her power through to take the title in a time of 56.12.

Silver went to Rebecca Turner (City of Sheffield) in 56.32 with bronze going to Emma Wilkins (Plymouth Leander) in 56.65.

Plymouth Leander’s Anthony James had already made the qualification time in the Men’s 100m Butterfly but a victory in the event today saw him lower his time.

Touching in 52.66 the 20-year-old took gold with James Doolan (City of Salford) taking silver in 53.69 with ,local boy Ian Hulme taking third in 53.72.

The Men’s 200m Freestyle was dominated by Plymouth Leander’s Steven Beckerleg who took a commanding lead from the start.

Less than 0.3 seconds separated first and third places as 20-year-old Beckerleg touched in a personal best time of 1:50.25 to take gold with Joe Roebuck (Loughborough University) in silver with 1:50.47 and Joshua Walsh taking bronze in 1:50.53.

“It was a tough race,” said Beckerleg. “My plan was to control the first 25 as I tend to go off too fast.

“I got a PB but it wasn't the time I was aiming for, it was a Commonwealth Games spot. I'll just have to wait and see!”

The Women’s 50m Butterfly saw Lucy Worrall (Stockport) swim to gold in 27.66, Louise Pate (Edinburgh University) took silver touching in 27.99 and Sian Harkin (Plymouth Leander) took third in 28.03.

The Women’s MD 100m Freestyle saw Heather Frederiksen (S8) take her second gold medal of the Championships with a time of 1:07.77 earning the City of Salford swimmer 958 points.

Second position went to Lowestoft’s Jessica Applegate (S14) whose time of 1:04.92 earned her 905 points and third went to teammate Stephanie Bird (S14) in 1:07.41 for 809 points.

Craig Rodgie (Carnegie, S14) also claimed his second gold of the Championships, this time taking the title in the Men’s MD 100m Freestyle.

His time of 59.56 was enough to earn him 802 points and the gold, while Anthony Stephens (Swansea Performance, S5) took silver in 1:17.18 with 780 points and Alfie Goldsmith (Black Lion, S13) taking bronze in 58.39 with 764 points.

Epping Forest’s Emma Hollis (SB7) took the title in the Women’s MD 100m Breaststroke as she swam 1:43.25 to earn 698 points.

Gemma Almond (Shrewsbury, SB9) took silver in 1:27.23 claiming 686 points with bronze going to Stephanie Bird (Lowestoft, SB14) in a time of 1:32.70 worth 681 points.

The Men’s MD 100m Breaststroke was won by Jack Bridge (Preston, SB9) in a time of 1:51.81 earning him 740 points.

Silver went to City of Liverpool’s Nicholas Boylan (SB14) who touched in 1:14.73 for 702 points with Sam Bradley (Mid Beds, SB6) in bronze medal position with a time of 1:39.88 worth 662 points.

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