Simmonds goes second in world with 200m Backstroke gold

16 June 2011

Lizzie Simmonds, Simon Burnett and Chris Walker-Hebborn secured places in the team for the World Championships in Shanghai in a dramatic finals session on day three of the British Gas ASA National Championships.

European champion Simmonds looked back to her best as she clocked the second fasted time in the world this year of 2:07.49 for gold in the 200m Backstroke.

Georgia Davies, who smashed the Welsh record with her opening 100m of 59.60, led from the gun and set a blistering pace but Simmonds stuck to her own race plan to take gold, adding to her victory from the 100m Backstroke on Tuesday.

She said: “Races like that remind of why I do this, why I train so hard.

"It’s to get the right result and it feels great. I've enjoyed two overseas camps this season where I put in a lot of very good work. I feel a lot more relaxed and it shows in how I'm swimming.

“I produced some good times here this week which was my aim so I'm delighted.”

Simon Burnett stormed to a season’s best 22.24 to capture gold and seal his World Championship spot in the men’s 50m freestyle.

My coach and I really concentrated on the things I do very well and tried to make the most of those to help my performance.

He led from the gun and never looked like being caught, beating Matthew Tutty of City of Salford by nearly half a second.

Tutty took silver in 22.73 while Richard Schafers of Edinburgh University took third with a personal best time of 22.86.

Burnett said: “I'm very happy with that and I’m quite surprised at the time, it is a lot better than I expected and a lot faster than I’ve been in a long time.

“My coach and I have really concentrated on the things I do very well and tried to make the most of those to help with my performance.

“I haven’t swam at those types of speeds for a long time and hopefully next month in Shanghai I can step it up again.

“I’ve had a good 50m Free and my fly has been good so it’s all looking good for the 100m Free tomorrow.”

Chris Walker-Hebborn also took his second title of the week, adding the 100m Backstroke to his 200m title.

It took a personal best of 54.47 to beat Marco Loughran (54.84) into second place while Ryan Bennett was third in 55.44.

Walker-Hebborn said: “I have had a good week so far and that felt really good again tonight. This season has been going very well and I felt absolutely no pressure this evening.

“I just wanted to win the race and felt comfortable that the time would follow.

“I have really looked at my swimming over the past 12 months and have changed my approach and that is transferring into my races.

“My aim for Shanghai now is to hopefully make a final and it would be great to get a personal best in the 200m Backstroke.

Dan Sliwinski (British Gas ITC Stockport/Preston SC) swam a new personal best in the finals of the 50m Breaststroke. He won in 27.76 ahead of Matt Shead of Beckenham SC who touched in 28.12.

Christopher Steeples of Derventio finished third in 28.72.

Double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington was also in action in the 800m.

For me the most exciting thing about Shanghai is racing the rest of the world - the last time I did that was in 2009 and it is what I enjoy most about swimming.

Both places in this event for the World Championships were filled at the British Gas Swimming Championships in March, by Adlington and Jazz Carlin, but the places on the podium were fiercely fought for by Hannah Miley and Eleanor Faulkner.

Adlington took the win with ease in the fifth fastest time in the world this year of 8.24.77 while Faulkner took silver in 8.34.15 and Miley bronze in a personal best 8.35.30.

Adlington said: “I was really pleased with that swim. My target was to go under 8.35.00 but I knew that was going to be a tough race given the form that City of Sheffield have shown this week.

“I’m not rested this week. By the end of the week I will have done 70km around my events so I’m aching but hopefully with a rest going into Worlds I will get down below 8.28.00.

“For me the most exciting thing about Shanghai is racing the rest of the world. The last time I did that was 2009 and it is what enjoy most about swimming.”

Stacey Tadd took her second title of the week in the 100m Breaststroke, winning in a personal best time of 1.09.14 but narrowly missing the qualifying time for Shanghai.

Kathryn Johnstone of Edinburgh University took second place in 1.11.04 while Georgina Heyn of Ealing SC took bronze in 1:11.12.

Amy Smith also became a double champion in Sheffield, adding the 50m Freestyle title to her 100m gold from Wednesday.

The Loughborough University swimmer touched in 25.46 with Heyn and Emma Wilkins tied for silver in 25.83.

The final event of the evening was the men’s 400m Individual Medley. Closely fought from the gun, Lewis Smith of British Gas ITC Stirling/Warrender took the touch in a time of 4.16.26 ahead of Tom Haffield of City of Cardiff in 4.16.53. Matthew Allison of City of Leeds was third in a personal best 4.22.07.

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