March 4 - An emotional Rebecca Adlington (pictured centre) secured a spot at the London 2012 Olympics as she put in a sensational display in the pool at the Aquatics Centre to claim victory in the 400 metre freestyle event on the second day of the British Gas Swimming Championships.
The double Beijing 2008 Olympic champion admitted she was extremely nervous heading into the event but supported by a deafening crowd at the venue on the Olympic Park, where she will be aiming to win Olympic gold in under five months, Adlington had every one of the passionate spectators on their feet a she dominated from start to finish in race.
The 23-year-old from Nottingham had Joanne Jackson (pictured left) and Eleanor Faulkner (right) either side of her as the race started but she left both of her rivals trailing as she touched in a time of 4min 02.35sec, which is well inside the A-standard time for the Olympics.
Jackson, who won bronze in the event at the Beijing 2008 Olympics behind Adlington, finished second in 4:06.47 to also secure the selection criteria for the Olympic Games, while Faulkner took third in 4:07.25 to set a personal best time.
"I have so much relief and happiness right now," said Adlington following the victory.
"I was crying my eyes out.
"Joanne and me have been through so much together, through four years of training and I missed her last year.
"The Olympics here will be the biggest thing I will experience.
"Now that I'm going it is the best feeling in the world.
"Of course there were nerves.
"The atmosphere was fantastic and everyone in the pool was feeling the pressure.
"It's an unbelievable venue and it was so nice to have my family in the stands.
"I am definitely reminded of Beijing and to be here with Jo is extra special.
"I am so happy and a bit too emotional.
"So many months preparing, four years, you can't imagine how good it feels.
"I wasn't even bothered about the time I just wanted to win."
Jackson (pictured top) expressed her delight to qualify for London 2012 after she also received a rapturous ovation from the crowd when taking silver behind Adlington (bottom).
"I'm so relieved," said Jackson, whose asthma and medical conditions have plagued her in recent years and forced her to miss the 2011 World Championships last year in Shanghai.
"I haven't had the best few years.
"I was gutted to have missed out last year at the World Championships.
"I put my heart and soul into this.
"Last year I didn't make it but I'm so excited to be coming back in four months' time.
"I now have a smile on my face which I haven't had in a while.
"It was all about making the team and the last 50m, I put everything into it."
Elsewhere World Championship silver medallist Ellen Gandy secured the British record in the 100m butterfly as she held off the talented Fran Halsall for victory.
Gandy lowered the British record to 57.25, while Halsall won silver in 57.56 meaning that both athletes swam under the Olympic qualification time.
Meanwhile, Jemma Lowe won the bronze in 58.06.
"It's the greatest feeling I've ever had," said Gandy.
"I've wanted to do it for the last four years to be able to say I'm going to the London Olympic Games and now I can say it – I'm just over the moon.
"To be honest the time wasn't as a bit irrelevant to me because I really wanted to make the team but I'm thrilled that I got the British record.
"I think Fran was beating me most of the way but I think my 200 training helped me down that last 25m."
Daniel Sliwinski (pictured) made his London 2012 intentions known by swimming under the Olympic qualification standard in the 100m breaststroke where he set a new personal best of 1:00.09.
Craig Benson stormed through his second 50m to set a time for the second London 2012 qualification spot after touching in 1:00.47, while the bronze medal went to Michael Jamieson in a time of 1:00.50.
"I just got my way back from injury," Sliwinski said after picking up gold.
"I want to thank everyone and show them they were supporting me for a reason.
"I've not done anything for people in the last three years and it was good to be able to thank them with that swim."
The Championships run on March 3-19 and are serving as the trials for the Olympics and Paralympics as well as the London 2012 swimming test event.
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