Brit Distance Aces On Target
Craig Lord
Britain's distance freestyle guns will enter their taper with a smile on their faces after solid performances at the ASA National Championships in Liverpool: Davies, 7:50.74 British 800m record; Adlington easy on 8:27.86 800m

Britain's distance freestyle guns will enter their taper with a smile on their faces after solid performances at the ASA National Championships in Liverpool. On Friday evening, David Davies set a British record of 7:50.74, a touch inside the standard that had stood to 1996 Olympic bronze medallist Graeme Smith since he won bronze behind Dolphins Ian Thorpe and Grant Hackett at the 2001 World Championships in Fukuoka.

Rebecca Adlington will arrive in Beijing at the top of the world rankings in the 800m freestyle, with an 8:19.22 effort from the British Olympic trials back in April. In Liverpool, she raced alongside Camelia Potec (ROU) until 300m, then broke away over the next 100m, turned in 4:14.97 and pressed ahead to a comfortable 8:27.86 victory. Adlington's technical skills, a tribute to the coaching of Bill Furniss in Nottingham, play a big part in her performance, as does the 19-year-old's ability to focus on what she needs to do regardless of what may be going on around her. Potec was back on 8:34.67 by the end, with Cassie Patten third in 8:44.06. Patten has already made swimming history: in March she made the Olympic team in the 800m free and at Seville in May became the first swimmer in the world to qualify for events in the pool and the 10km marathon in Beijing. Patten was presented with the 2007 British Olympic Association Athlete of the Year Award for her silver medal a hand behind Larissa Ilchenko (RUS) in the 10km at the FINA World Championships in Melbourne. A former teammate of hers, Rebecca Cooke, who retired in the wake of the Olympic trials in April, also received a prize: the British Olympic team, represented by performance head Michael Scott, presented 'Cookey' with a photo-montage of some of her big moments as a token of thanks for her place as a role model on bygone teams and as a measure of how much they would miss her this summer.

Back to the action in the pool - the 200m breaststroke produced a very solid 2:12.94 from Kris Gilchrist in a tussle with Ireland's Tennessee-based Andrew Bree. The two turned together at 100m before Gilchrist turned the pressure on down the third length and maintained pace on the way home, with Bree following on in 2:14.19, slower than his 2:13.20 heats swim on Friday evening. There was little to separate the leaders in the 200m freestyle, the touch going to Ross Davenport in 1:49.57, 0.02sec ahead of Olympic teammate Robbie Renwick, with bronze going to Andrew Hunter in 1:49.73.

Elsewhere among women, the 100m breaststroke went to Hanna Westrin (SWE) in 1:09.85, Alena Popchanka (FRA and Edinburgh) took the 100m freestyle in 54.78, Anna-Karin Kammerling (SWE) was the easy winner of the 50m butterfly, in 26.95 and the 200m backstroke went to Melanie Nocher (IRL) in 2:12.71, a national record inside her own 2:13.84. Hannah Miley clocked a solid 4:42.84 to win the 400m medley.

Among men, Todd Cooper got the touch in the 100m butterfly in 53.61, with his Olympic teammate Michael Rock locked into third by Andrew Mayor, 53. 90 to 53.94. The 50m backstroke went to Gregor Tait in 25.95 ahead of Matt Clay and Marco Loughran on 26.04 and 26.11, and James Goddard claimed the 200m medley in 2:03.68.