Adlington sneaks through
Defending champ Adlington just sneaks into final
Last Updated: 29/07/12 1:34pm
Rebecca Adlington: Eighth into final
The Aquatics Centre breathed a huge sigh of relief this morning as Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington squeezed into the final of the 400 metres freestyle in eighth place.
The 23-year-old dominated her race from start to finish but then had to look on as two extremely fast heats threatened to edge her out of tonight's final.
However, her time of four minutes 05.75 seconds just saw Adlington through although the event has such strength in depth that making the podium will be a battle royale, let alone successfully defending her title.
World record holder and world champion Federica Pellegrini was herself only seventh with Frenchwoman Camille Muffat, the textile world record holder who has been on startlingly consistent form this year, quickest in four minutes 03.29 seconds.
Before she realised she had just squeaked through, Adlington said: "It felt faster than that but you just don't know being in the first heat. I had no option, I just had to go for it. I hope it's enough to make the final."
Beijing bronze medallist Jo Jackson was 21st in 4mins 11.50secs.
Gemma Spofforth negotiated the 100m backstroke heats and although the performance was by her admission not particularly impressive, it was at least an improvement on last year when, as defending world champion, she crashed out at that stage in Shanghai.
Spofforth, 12th overall on 1:00.05, said: "(There were) a lot of little mistakes there, my start wasn't great. I slipped on my streamline, finish was awful, there's a lot of things I can improve on."
However, Georgia Davies caught the eye, in 59.92, with the Australian Emily Seebohm setting a new Olympic record of 58.23, just 0.11 outside Spofforth's world record.
Swansea ITC swimmer Davies, sixth overall, said: "It was incredible. I was not sure what to expect of my first Olympic experience.
"To make the semis is brilliant, I want to try to make the final now."
Liam Tancock was eighth fastest into the men's equivalent race in 53.86secs and said: "I am really pleased.
"At meets like this it's all about making it through the rounds, pleased with that morning swim and looking forward to being back in tonight."
Chris Walker-Hebborn ended 20th.
Robbie Renwick was sixth into the 200m freestyle semi-finals in 1:46.86 as he looks to at least repeat his 2008 feats when he made the final. Ieuan Lloyd, however, missed out in 19th.
There will be no home representation in the women's breaststroke semi-finals as Kate Haywood and Siobhan-Marie O'Connor both missed out.
O'Connor is the baby of the team at 16 and today her time of 1:08.32 was
0.24secs outside the personal best she set at the second trials in Sheffield,
although that would not have seen her through.
The fastest qualifier was 15-year-old Ruta Meilutyte, a Lithuanian based in Plymouth.
The teenager attends Plymouth College with former world 10-metre platform diving champion Tom Daley and is coached by Jon Rudd at Plymouth Leander.
Her time of 1:05.56 prompted tears from the youngster who said: "I didn't expect it at all, I am in shock. I am speechless."
The British men's sprint relay team failed to reach their event's final, finishing 12th overall in 3:17.08.