Pavoni shines on opening day in London
3 March 2012
British Gas ITC Loughborough swimmer Roberto Pavoni posted the World’s best time for the 400m Individual Medley in the first final of the British Gas Swimming Championships.
Defending silver medallist Joe Roebuck led out from the gun before Pavoni pulled back the distance as the two turned in exactly the same split time at the 150m mark.
It's an incredible feeling - it's been a dream of mine for quite a few years to qualify for the Olympics.
Pavoni pulled away at the half way point touching in 4.12.43, claiming the first swimming gold medal to be handed out at the Olympic Aquatics Centre.
“It's an incredible feeling,” said Pavoni. “It's been a dream of mine for quite a few years so to qualify for the Olympics so to win, and do it in a PB is amazing.
“I'm not one to be complacent and I knew there were going to be a lot of other tough competitors racing me tonight. The heat went perfectly this morning though. It couldn't have gone any better and it gave me so much confidence stepping out of there as fastest qualifier.
“Swimming the 400m IM on the first day was a different challenge because it's usually the last day of a meet so we had to be ready straight away but now I couldn't be happier and I can enjoy the rest of the week and hopefully get some more good swims in.
“I knew the qualifying time wasn't going to be the issue tonight. I knew it would take a faster time to win than just to qualify so it was just about going out there and trying to win the race.”
Roebuck stayed on his heels to take second place, touching in a time of 4.14.48, fast enough to claim the second birth for the Olympic Games.
Matthew Johnson of City of Sheffield took the bronze in a new personal best time of 4.16.53.
World Championship silver medallist Hannah Miley followed suit in the same event for the women, also posting the fastest time in the world for the 400m Individual Medley.
Despite a fast start from Middlesborough’s Aimee Wilmott who led out for the first 100m, Miley kept her cool and with just three lengths to go, was just outside her British record.
Finishing strongly in 4.32.67, Miley posted the second fastest time in British history to take the title to put her in contention for nomination to Team GB.
“The performance was really good,” Miley said. “I did not expect the time and I am really chuffed. The crowd was electric and I can’t wait to see what it will be like at the Olympic Games.
“The pressure is off now I have qualified. Training has been great, now I have to maintain it. In the past at major sport competitions I train well then I go out and let it drop, so I now need to maintain it.”
Wilmott, who followed Miley’s heels posted a personal best of 4.37.48 to take silver within the Olympic qualifying time. Steph Proud took third place and the bronze medal in 4.43.10.
Robbie Renwick, Glasgow’s 200m Freestyle Commonwealth gold medallist, was determined to make his mark on the 400m Freestyle field getting a new personal best and the gold medal.
I'm absolutely ecstatic - it was a great race and I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life right now.
Renwick led from the gun but had to contend with an in-form Ieuan Lloyd sitting on his shoulder for most of the race. David Carry was also in the mix, not letting the other two out of his sights.
At 300m Renwick stepped up a gear to pull away from Lloyd and Carry, putting in a huge effort to secure the top spot within the qualifying time, and new personal best, of 3.46.73.
“I'm absolutely ecstatic,” said Renwick. “It was a great race. I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life and it's looking good for the rest of the week.
“I regard the 200m Freestyle as my main event and I've got the heats of that tomorrow so this is a good start to the week.
“I've been hitting personal bests in training which is always a good sign coming into the meet and really I've stepped up for the Olympic year and hopefully we can keep the ball rolling now all the way to the Olympics.
“It was a fantastic time and I feel like the PB has been well-earned. It's been three years since my last one so it's a great feeling.”
Carry proved his experience in the final 50m to take the touch in 3.48.36 ahead of Lloyd agonisingly outside the qualifying time by two tenths of a second.
Lloyd took the bronze with a three second personal best time, in 3.48.86.
Ellen Gandy set up a gladiatorial final after posting a personal best of 57.47 in the 100m butterfly semi-final.
In what promises to be one of the closest races of the week, Gandy edged out Fran Halsall to the fastest qualifier spot after Halsall also won her semi in 58.31.
Jemma Lowe was close behind to finish in 58.79 securing her a spot in tomorrow’s final. Competition for the top two spots will be in close contention with Jessica Sylvester, Rachael Kelly and Sophie Allen and Jess Dickons also finishing in under a minute.
Michael Jamieson led the way in the men’s 100m Breastroke semi-final. The reigning champion stamped his authority on the field, posting his best time of the season, 1.00.66.
Just behind were Kris Gilchrist, who won the second semi-final in 1.01.14 and Andrew Willis in 1.01.22. Craig Benson, Daniel Sliwinski and Richard Webb all finished within a second of Jamieson and tomorrow’s final promises to be a nailbiter