Day three of the British Gas Swimming Championships 2010 saw some surprise results as the swimmers took to the blocks in Sheffield to fight for British honours.
The final that everyone’s eyes were on was the women’s 100m Backstroke and with Elizabeth Simmonds taking on World Champion Gemma Spofforth it was predicted to be a fast final.
The British Gas ITC Loughborough swimmer had the best start and touched at 50m first to put pressure on the world record holder.
The final 50m saw the Spofforth show her strength as she pulled the race back and for the final 10m the two athletes were swimming stroke for stroke.
It was down to the touch and Simmonds got the victory just ahead of Spofforth in a new personal best time of 59.43.
“It was a great race today and it’s always pleasing to get a personal best,” said Simmonds. “Gemma and I are obviously rivals but outside, we are great friends.
“To have someone like Gemma in the lane next to you is probably the best you can have. Everyone knows how much hard work we both put in so it is great to be pushing up there with the best in the world.”
Spofforth won silver in a time of 59.46 and Stephanie Proud won the bronze in 1:01.30.
One of the closest finals of the evening was the women’s 100m Freestyle as World Championship silver medallist Fran Halsall was pushed all the way by Loughborough University’s Amy Smith.
Halsall (British Gas ITC Loughborough) reached the 50m point first after a strong length but Smith performed excellently to hang onto Halsall’s shoulder.
The race came down to the final 50m and Smith began to really push Halsall but the British record holder took it on the touch in a time of 54.71.
Smith won the silver medal in a time of 54.86 with bronze going to Lucy Ellis (British Gas ITC Stirling) in 55.76.
The men’s 200m Backstroke saw Olympian James Goddard lining up against Chris Walker-Hebborn in this evening’s final and both looked confident on the blocks.
Goddard (British Gas ITC Stockport) had the best start but Walker-Hebborn began to pull it back as they entered the back end of the race.
In the final 50m Walker-Hebborn (British Gas ITC Bath) began to move into the lead but Goddard had the best finish and took the victory in 1:57.06.
“I am really chuffed with that performance,” Goddard said. “But I know I can go faster.”
Walker-Hebborn won silver in 1:57.39 and bronze went to Scott Hathaway (Loughborough Uni) in 2:00.57.
Scottish record holder Kris Gilchrist took on British record holder Daniel Sliwinski in the final of the men’s 100m Breaststroke this evening.
The final 10m saw five swimmers line up as they approached the wall together with all of them looking on course to take the victory. Gilchrist reached for the wall and touched in a time of 1:01.22 to win gold ahead of Michael Jamieson (British Gas ITC Bath) who finished in 1:01.24.
Bronze went to Richard Webb, who swam an excellent final 50m, in a time of 1:01.37.
University of Bath swimmer Stacey Tadd stormed to victory in the women’s 200m Breaststroke final with a swim that saw her battling with Garioch’s Hannah Miley for the victory.
Miley held the lead at the halfway point but Tadd overtook the Olympian with 10m left to go and she touched in 2:29.66 to take the gold medal.
Miley finished in 2:30.27 to win the silver and Kate Hutchinson (Loughborough Uni) won bronze in 2:31.09.
Ian Hulme won the gold medal in the men’s 50m Butterfly in a final that saw two British Gas ITC Bath swimmers claim the top spots.
Hulme looked powerful throughout the 50m and touched in 24.22 to take the win.
Silver went to James Doolan in 24.51 and bronze was won by City of Leicester swimmer Jamie Thorpe in 24.65.
Simon Burnett (Windsor) qualified fastest for the men’s 100m Freestyle with an excellent performance in his semi-final.
Beckenham’s Ellen Gandy achieved the fastest qualifying time for the women’s 100m Butterfly final.