Rebecca Adlington breaks Olympic record

Posted on 9:39 AM by Sameer Shah

British gold medallist Rebecca Adlington has broken the Olympic record in the heats of the 800m freestyle.

Adlington, who raced to surprise gold in the 400m freestyle on Monday, led the rest of the competitors by several lengths in what is her strongest event.

She was inside world record pace when she got to the half-way mark but despite slowing in the final stretch, she came home in 8:08.06, breaking both the Olympic and European records.

Her performance now makes her the second fastest swimmer over the distance in history behind Janet Evans and she broke the British record by 1.16sec with the final still to come.

"I can't believe how well I did in the 400m freestyle," said Adlington, 19, from Mansfield.

"My target was just to do a best time in the 800m and beat what I did at trials.

"I just wanted to get in and do a PB."

Buoyed by her gold medal in the Water Cube on Monday, Adlington was in dominant form from the start.

She suffered a setback in the 4X200m freestyle relay when the team failed to qualify in her absence yesterday, but looks to be in good enough form to make amends in her specialist event.

Adlington sliced 1.61sec off the previous Olympic record set by Brooke Bennett on her way to gold at the Sydney 2000 Games.

Bennett won gold in both the 400 and 800m on that occasion something Adlington is hoping to achieve.

Joining her in the Saturday final is Cassie Patten, the open water specialist, who lowered her own personal best by over three seconds.

Patten said, “It was amazing. I was crying my eyes out.”

Lizzie Simmonds swam a very impressive and controlled race to claim the British record for the 200m backstroke. Her time of 2min 08.66sec shaved 0.08 off the time established in 2003 by Katie Sexton on her way to the world title.

The 17-year-old pointed out that all the British records except one were now held by members of the current team.

The one remaining mark is held by Stephen Parry which he set on his way to 200m butterfly bronze in Athens 2004.

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