MANSFIELD’S Rebecca Adlington is into tonight’s 400m freestyle final after winning her heat – but she only qualified eighth fastest.
It means she will have to win from an outside lane tonight in what is set to be the most competitive final in this event’s history.
Adlington cruised to victory in heat three this morning – then jogged back around the pool to her changing room.
Mansfield’s double Olympic champion clocked 4:05.75 to make tonight’s final, which takes place at 8.18pm tonight, when she looks to defend the crown she won in Beijing four years ago.
The 23-year-old wasted no time getting out of the pool and avoided doing any media interviews, in order to fully focus on this evening’s spectacle, when she could become the first Briton to win a gold medal.
But she faces a stiff task after two super-quick heats which followed.
First, France’s Coralie Balmy (4.03.56), Canada’s Brittany MacLean (4.05.06) and Italy’s Federica Pellegrini (4:05.30) qualified in heat four and in the final heat, France’s Camille Muffat won in 4.03.29, America’s Allison Schmitt finished in 4:03.31, Lauren Boyle (New Zealand) in 4:03.63 and Switzerland’s Lotte Friis in 4:04.22.
It was evident Adlington has plenty more in the tank, while her opponents might feel the effects of their efforts in the heats.
Either way, it makes for a superb final tonight at the new Aquatics Centre at the Olympic Park.