Joanne Jackson, coached by Dave McNulty at Loughborough, became the 8th member of the sub-4:05sec 400m freestyle club when she clocked 4:04.81 in evening heats at the ASA National Championships in Liverpool.
Now 8th best this year, Jackson had been ranked 10th, with a best of 4:05.38 from the British Olympic trials in April. In Liverpool, she split 59.30, 2:01.26, 3:03.14 and finished 0.31sec shy of the British record held by Rebecca Adlington at 4:04.50. Adlington progressed to the final in 4:12.63 behind Jazmin Carlin, on 4:10.86, with Camelia Potec (ROU and Canet 66) on 4:13.46.
McNulty is currently in charge not only of Jackson but the Britain men's relay squads following the departure of former head coach Ian Turner, now in New Zealand. His temporary tenure at Loughborough has served Jackson well, very well. 'Others have basically continued in their programmes working with the things they know work well since trials,' said McNultly, 'but Jo's had this extra bonus added to her programme and its worked a treat. She's worked really well, she's happy, she's enjoying it and it's showing through in her [performances].'
In the 100m freestyle heats, Fabien Gilot (FRA), put in a swift 48.61. That's one of those pre-2008, post-2008 moments that some would rather turn a blind eye to. Gilot's heats time in a relatively low-key affair at a pool with narrow lanes and far from the heat of the big moment would have won an Olympic medals at any time in history barring 2004, when Thorpe would have kept him off the podium by 0.05sec, would have got him the gold in 1996, the silver ahead of Alex Popov's fastest-ever 100 free in Olympic waters ... and so on and so forth. Gilot hardly broke into a sweat, it seemed. We are living in a new era, no question.