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Spofforth holds off Simmonds for 100m Backstroke gold

7 March 2011

Gemma Spofforth held off friend and rival Lizzie Simmonds to clinch the 100m Backstroke title on day three in Manchester.

Simmonds, who qualified fastest for the final, led at the turn but Spofforth showed why she was World Champion and powered through the last 50m, pulling away with 25m to win in a time of 1.00.52.

Simmonds took silver in 1.01.16 and Loughborough University’s Rachel Lefley pipped Georgia Davies to the bronze after finishing in 1:02.02.

Keri-anne Payne smashed Rebecca Cooke's eight-year old British Record in the women’s 1500m Freestyle final.

I had the record in mind but I didn't think I would go that far under it.

Taking more than eight seconds off the previous time, Payne touched home in 16:06.67 for gold ahead of Eleanor Faulkner (16:15.29) and Cassie Patten (16:15.33).

Payne led from the gun and admitted she was targeting setting a new British marker.

“I kind of had the record in mind but didn't think I was going to go that far under it,” said Payne, whose time was the 20th fastest in history.

“I was fine with lane one in the final. My coach said to go 17 minute for the final and I just did that. It was so nice that every single person on poolside was waving me on and supporting me

“I’m now looking for a good 800 and hopefully a PB to get qualification for the world qualifier.

Ross Davenport took the title in the first final of tonight’s programme, winning the men’s 200m Freestyle in 1:48.34.

He said: “That was great. We have a lot of experience and speed in our training group and we all work really well together. I wanted to go out, hit the race and see what happened

“There is a lot of youth coming through in the 200m and that is only going to push the event forward and hopefully lead to success in the relays.”

Robbie Renwick, the winner of the 400m event earlier in the week, put in an effort in the last 20m to take silver in 1.48.34 while David Carry took bronze in 1.49.12.

In the Men’s 100m Backstroke final Liam Tancock had the fastest start and led to the final touch, comfortably taking the title in 53.44.

I'm pleased with the time at this point in the season - I improved through the rounds and that's a great sign.

Chris Walker-Hebborn and Ryan Bennett fought for the final 50m in the battle of the other medals with Walker-Hebborn eventually coming out on top winning silver in 55.41 and Bennett bronze in 55.92.

Tancock said: “I’m very pleased with that time so early on in the season. I improved through the rounds and that was a great sign. I love competing against the best in Britain and the best in the world.

"Bring on Shanghai, I like racing the big guns. There are a lot of us going through now which is great.”

The final event of the session was a fight to the finish with Bath University’s Stacey Tadd storming her last 25m to win the 100m Breaststroke final ahead of Kate Haywood in silver.

Tadd touched home in 1:09.97 and said afterwards: “I really didn't expect that. Kate (haywood) is so quick on the first 50m so I knew if I stuck with her I would be close to it.

“I heard the crowd and just kept going. It has given me massive confidence for the 200m which is my main event.”

Haywood finished in 1:10.36 and Edinburgh University’s Kerry Buchan took bronze in 1:10.53.

Rebecca Adlington qualified fastest for tomorrow's 200m Freestyle final after winning her semi final by 0.01 seconds.

The double Olympic champion finished in 1:59.88 with Jazz Carlin just behind in 1:59.89.

The final promises to be a tight affair with Jo Jackson, Hannah Miley. Keri-anne Payne, Caitlin McClatchey, Rebecca Turner and Sasha Matthews all progressing within 1.10 seconds of Adlington's time.

Finally, Michael Rock (1:56.26) leads the rankings going into the 200m Butterfly final tomorrow night alongside Joe Roebuck (1:58.74), Roberto Pavoni (2:00.15) and Cameron Brodie (2:00.10).

For full results and start lists from the British Gas Swimming Championships, click here.

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