Rebecca Adlington completed the first part of her golden treble with 200m freestyle victory on the opening day of the British Gas Swimming Championships in Sheffield.

The 21-year old is aiming for the 200, 400 and 800m freestyle hat-trick at Ponds Forge - an achievement she managed in 2008 before famously going on to scoop double Olympic gold at the Beijing Aquatic Centre a few months later.

But after losing her national 200m and 400m titles to friend and rival Jo Jackson last season, Adlington bounced back with a bang on Monday, romping to 200m victory by 0.64 seconds.

Victory guaranteed Adlington's qualification for August's European Championships in Budapest as well as her first Commonwealth Games in Delhi two months later.

But although her time of 1:57.87 minutes was the fourth fastest in the world this season, Adlington played down talk of individual 200m glory and insisted it was making the 200m relay team that had been her priority.
"I love the relay so I'm really glad I've made it through for that," said Adlington.

"I'm not much of a sprinter so I have to rely on coming back in the last 100m. But it's fantastic to have guaranteed the relay spot - that was what I wanted to do.

"I love the event and now I can enjoy the rest of the week because I know I've made that."

With the top four automatically qualifying for the relay teams for both events, Commonwealth record holder Jackson also booked her place in the teams despite a chest infection having played havoc with her winter training.
But while she put in an encouraging performance to win her heat with the second fastest qualifying time before finishing third in the final in 1:58.93 mins, the are doubts over the 23-year old's participation in the 400m and 800m freestyle after Jackson was left gasping for breathe after her swim.

Meanwhile, Welsh teenager Jazmin Carlin impressed again to pip defending champion Jackson to the wall and finish second in Sheffield.

The 19-year old scored wins over both Adlington and Jackson at February's Great Britain v Germany duel meet and continued her impressive form, upgrading from bronze last year to strike silver in 1:58.51 mins.

Liam Tancock was another stand-out performer on the first evening in Sheffield as he powered his way into Tuesday's 50m backstroke final.
Tancock lifted the world title in Rome last summer and looks set for international supremacy again this season after winning his semi final in a world leading time of 24.52 seconds - 1.55 quicker than second fastest qualifier Luke Wood.

Article courtesy of by Chris Cottrell, Sportsbeat