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Rock steals the show while Team USA takes victory

19 Dec 2009

The final day of the British Gas Duel in the Pool saw Team USA rule the pool as they earned a 185 point total against E-Stars’ 78 points.

The two-day meet saw eight new world records broken as the world’s top swimmers competed in Manchester in straight head-to-head finals.

The final day of the British Gas Duel in the Pool saw Team USA rule the pool as they earned a 185 point total against E-Stars’ 78 points.

The two-day meet saw eight new world records broken as the world’s top swimmers competed in Manchester in straight head-to-head finals.

Britain’s Michael Rock stole the show in the Men’s 200m Butterfly with a victory over 14-time Olympic champion Michael Phelps. The Stockport-based swimmer swam a quick first 150m to take the lead, leaving the American unable to close ground as Rock touched in 1:51.46 to take five points for the E-Stars team. Phelps claimed second in 1:52.86 with the USA’s Tyler McGill in third with a time of 1:53.17. “That was a fantastic experience,” said Rock. “It’s a pleasure to race against the Americans and Michael Phelps here in front of an amazing crowd and an amazing atmosphere.”

Britain’s Rebecca Adlington got the E-Stars team off to an excellent start with her performance in the Women’s 800m Freestyle. The double Olympic Champion recorded a time of 8:10.59 to take first place and five points for her team, with World Champion Keri-Anne Payne touching in second with a time of 8:17.61.

Battle ensued between Britain’s Jazmin Carlin and Team USA’s Amber Mc Dermott for third place, but the final metre saw McDermott touch just eight hundredths of a second before Carlin to take the remaining point for the Americans. “I’m really pleased with that,” said Adlington. “Swimming here has been so much fun, and getting to know the other swimmers on the E-Stars team has been great. “It’s such an exciting time for British Swimming; we’re just getting better and better. The Commonwealth Games should be good and of course everyone is excited about London, not just the swimmers but all of the fans as well.”

Payne, a late addition to the E-Stars team, was pleased with second place and three points on the scoreboard: “It was pretty tough. I found out two days ago that I was going to be swimming. But I just came out here and gave it my best shot.”

Lizzie Simmonds set a new British record in an exciting Women’s 100m Backstroke race that saw the E-Stars team take first and third places to add to their points total. Simmonds’ time of 56.69 was enough to touch ahead of Team USA’s Margaret Hoelzer, with Britain’s Gemma Spofforth taking third in 57.62.

“It’s fantastic today” said Simmonds. “The 200m Backstroke is more my event so I just went out there wanting to enjoy it and to come away with a result like that is great.” World Champion, Gemma Spofforth was pleased with third against some tough opposition: “Most of people there were in final at the World Championships and it’s great to have them here competing.”

Fran Halsall did her part for the E-Stars team recording her third victory of the meet in the Women’s 50m Freestyle. Second and third position went to Team USA with Jessica Hardy finishing in 24.04 and Christine Magnuson in 24.05. “It’s been a fantastic last month for me and tonight has topped it off, it’s a great Christmas present,” said Halsall. “The home crowd support has been amazing and it really helps down the last straight.”

Halsall also went in the Women’s 200m Freestyle touching in 1:53.79 to take third spot behind a Team USA one-two of Allison Schmitt and Dagny Knutson. “It’s been a lot of fun,” said Schmitt. “We’re all trying to score points for our team and touch the wall first, so this is a good result.”

Britain’s James Goddard lined up in the Men’s 200m Individual Medley in front of his home crowd. Swimming stroke-for-stroke with Tyler Clary, the race was close until Goddard took the lead in the final 50m to take first place in a new British record of 1:52.62. Second position went to Jack Brown of the USA in 1:54.43 with Clary taking third in 1:54.82. “It was fantastic,” said Goddard. “Swimming in my home town with home support just gave me that extra push I needed.”

Another world record fell to Team USA’s Rebecca Soni as she swam in the Women’s 100m Breaststroke. Touching in 1:02.70, Soni led an American one-two-three ahead of Jessica Hardy and Katy Freeman. “I’m really happy with that,” said Soni. “It’s a great meet; there’s so much energy and so much excitement.”

A new European record was set in the Men’s 800m Freestyle by E-Stars’ Federico Colbertaldo. Recording a time of 7:31.18, the Italian swimmer took first place ahead of Team USA’s Chad La Tourette in second and Britain’s David Davies who took the third spot in 7:36.47. “I’m very glad to be here,” said Colbertaldo. “I’m very proud to be a member of the European selection and I’m really happy with my swim today.”

Olympic silver medallist Davies was happier with today’s result after yesterday’s sixth place in the Men’s 400m Freestyle: “Yesterday was disappointing for me; no one likes to get beaten,” said Davies. “But it’s a great atmosphere here.” Peter Vanderkay set a new American record in the Men’s 200m Freestyle to take first place in 1:42.17. Second went to E-Stars’ Benjamin Starke who touched in 1:42.86 with third going to Michael Phelps. “It was a good race for me,” said Vanderkay. “My plan was to swim a smart race and that’s what I did.”

Liam Tancock was able to put a point on the board for his E-Stars team when he claimed third position in the Men’s 100m Backstroke in 51.40. Team USA’s Matt Grevers took first in 49.32 with Aaron Peirsol in second touching in 51.25. “It’s good to get in there and race the best of the best and put on a show in front of a fantastic crowd,” said Tancock. “British swimming is going from strength to strength at the moment, we’ve just to keep it going to London and I’m really enjoying it.”

Team USA took another six points in the Men’s 100m Breaststroke with a first and third place finish by Mike Alexandrov, who recorded a new American record of 57.16, and Kevin Swander who touched in 57.64. Italy’s Fabio Scozzoli took second in 57.47. The Women’s 200m Butterfly saw Mary Mohler race to victory in a time of 2:04.78. Second place went to Team USA’s Dana Vollmer in 2:05.34 with E-Stars’ Francesca Segat taking third in 2:05.53. “Manchester seems to be a great racing place for me,” said Mohler. “I was here in 2008 for the World Short Course Championships and swam very well.”

Nathan Adrian took first place in the Men’s 50m Freestyle for Team USA. With a time of 20.71, Adrian set a new American record ahead of teammate Matt Grevers and Italy’s Marco Orsi.

A world record for Julia Smit earned Team USA a further five points to add to their total. Smit touched in 2:04.60 to lead USA to a clean-sweep of the points with Ariana Kukors and Katie Hoff finishing in second and third respectively.

Britain’s Hannah Miley just missed out on taking points for the E-Stars team after a very close race which saw the Scottish swimmer touch in fourth place with a time of 2:08.69. “My plan was just to have fun and the crowd was awesome,” said Smit, who was happy with her new world record. “I went out there to really enjoy it,” said Miley.” It was a great race, a great fight at the end and I gave it my all.”

The Women’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay saw the E-Stars team challenge the American’s for the lead, but Team USA proved too strong for the European foursome of Francesca Halsall, Daniela Schreiber, Daniela Samulski and Lizzie Simmonds as they touched in 3:29.90 behind the new American record of 3:28.89.

Team USA finished the meet off with a new world record in the Men’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay. The quartet of Nathan Adrian, Matt Grevers, Garrett Weber-Gale and Michael Phelps showed their strength in the pool as they touched in 3:03.30 ahead of E-Stars’ 3:04.95. Speaking afterwards Phelps said: “It’s great to finish the meet with a world record. The team have had some great swims here and it’s a nice way to end it.”


The British Gas Duel in the Pool takes place on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th December at the Manchester Aquatics Centre between Team USA and E-Stars (Great Britain, Germany and Italy).

For programme information visit www.duelinthepool.com

For further details contact Lauren Sanderson, British Swimming Media Assistant, on 07795 251 917 or email lauren.sanderson@swimming.org.

About British Swimming British Swimming is the National Governing Body for Swimming, Diving, Synchronised Swimming, Water Polo and Open Water in Great Britain. It is responsible internationally for the high performance representation of the sport. The members of British Swimming are the three Home Countries national governing bodies of England (ASA), Scotland (Scottish ASA) and Wales. (Welsh ASA) British Swimming seeks to enable its athletes to achieve gold medal success at the Olympics, Paralympics, World Championships and Commonwealth Games.

About British Gas The nation's leading energy supplier, British Gas is the Principal Partner of British Swimming, supporting the sport at all levels: 'From paddling pool to podium'. Since March British Gas has been driving shared objectives with British Swimming to get more people swimming regularly through Swimfit and Learn to Swim. Recently British Gas launched a high profile campaign with Rebecca Adlington to give a free swim to all of its customers. British Gas also wants to ensure local pools stay open and stay at the heart of the community. In areas of 'aquatic deprivation' British Gas is helping Pools 4 Schools to bring swimming to urban communities. For more information visit www.britishgas.co.uk/swimming

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About Manchester City Council As host of the British Gas Duel in the Pool, Manchester continues to strengthen its impressive reputation for successfully hosting major international sports events, recognised when the City was awarded the SportBusiness Sports City 'Gold' Award in 2008. This year has seen no let up with the staging of innovative events such as the City Games, that brought the phenomenal Usain Bolt to the streets of Manchester, Skyride, that opening up the City Centre roads for a mass participation cycling experience and most recently the World Netball Series that showcased a fast and exciting version of the sport to packed galleries at the MEN Arena. Whilst the City recognises the profile and economic benefits that these events bring, its excellent range of accessible sports venues and facilities, combined with its school and community sports development programmes ensure that residents see real legacy benefits.

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