Double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington won England’s first medal of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, scooping bronze in the women’s 200m freestyle at the beginning of a successful evening in the pool for England’s swimmers.
The 21-year-old finished in 1:58.47 in a session that saw England collect three medals with Michael Rock in the 200m butterfly and the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay team both picking up silvers.
But Ellen Gandy faces a swim-off against Hayley Palmer of New Zealand for the last place in the women’s 50m butterfly finals tomorrow, as the two finished in a dead heat in the semis.
Adlington described getting a medal in her first Commonwealth Games final as “unbelieveable”.
”I don't really have the speed of the other girls as I'm more of a distance freestyler but I came back well and it looks good for the rest of my programme with the 400m and 800m still to come,” she said.
“I was ranked fifth coming into the event so I didn't think a medal was likely but it was a strong swim and I'm delighted with bronze.”
Michael Rock went one better, bagging a silver medal in the men’s 200m butterfly with a time of 1:57.15.
The 23 year-old has spent time out of the water this year finishing his law degree at Manchester University.
He said: “That's a big step forward for me to win a major long course medal. I wasn't expecting that after what has been a broken preparation for me.
“I've now got a Commonwealth silver to add to my degree so 2010 will definitely be remembered. I know there’s much more in me and with a good block of training my plan is to go much quicker next year.”
The men’s 4x100m freestyle relay team turned in a strong performance to claim silver in the final event of the day in the pool.
The England men finished in 3:15.05, 1.29 seconds behind the Australians, who set a new Games record.
England’s world champion Liam Tancock, who also made the final of the men’s 50m backstroke tomorrow, finishing third in 25.62, said: “What a great way to end our first day, another great performance and a silver medal for the men. I love being part of the relay.
“We were always on Australia's shoulder and they have such a strong team. It shows this team is developing into a good unit.”
Fran Halsall impressed in her 50m butterfly semi-final, winning in a time of 26.33.
Halsall said it showed her preparation had gone well. “I would like to think I can take some more off that time and that could put me in the mix for a medal,” she added.
Team-mate Ellen Gandy faces a potentially sleepless night after coming in third in the same race in 27.14. Her time was exactly the as Palmer’s, which means the two will have to battle for the last remaining place in the final in a swim off.
Gandy said: “It was a bit slower than this morning so I'm disappointed but I have to get myself up now for the swim off and try to grab the final eighth spot.”
Aimee Willmott and Kate Hutchinson, both were competing in their first Commonwealth Games, missed out on the medals in the women’s 200m individual medley. But Hutchinson predicted more success for England in the pool.
Hutchinson said: “The whole experience here in Delhi has been amazing so far and now the swimming has started I just know we’re going to have a special week in the pool."