Olympic champion Becky Adlington fires out warning to title rivals

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MANSFIELD’S swim queen Becky Adlington fired out a warning to challengers for her Olympic throne this summer with victories in both the 800m and 200m in the British Gas ASA National Championships at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge last week.

She also qualified for a third event at London 2012, the 4x200m freestyle.

However, there was heartbreak for Selston’s Molly Renshaw as, despite being crowned national champion in the 200m breaststroke, she missed out on the Olympic qualifying time once more, by less than a second.

Adlington (23) overhauled Rebecca Turner in the final 25 metres to claim the 200m title in one minute 58.68 seconds to secure a relay spot along with Lucy Ellis, who finished third.

She then surprised even herself as, in the midst of very heavy training, she stormed to victory in her favoured 800m event as she won in eight minutes 19.03 seconds, half a length ahead of second-placed Eleanor Faulkner, who will also swim this event at the Aquatics Centre.

“I did the 400m at roughly the same time as last year but I hoped I would go a bit quicker in the 800m to show I am on the right path and improving,” said Becky.

“So I was pleased to go two seconds quicker than the last trials. It sets me up going into the next cycle and I hope I can improve on that at the Games as well.

“I felt more nervous than I was for the 400m. I felt really panicked and had no idea why. I guess it’s because it’s the event I love the most.

“I just went for it. I didn’t focus on the other girls. I just stuck to my race plan.

It is the second fastest time in the world this year and one only the Nova Centurion swimmer herself has bettered. Her effort at Ponds Forge eclipsed by 0.93secs her time in Barcelona earlier this month and only Adlington has gone inside 8mins 20secs this year.

Sadly, despite a great swim, Renshaw (16) will now be left watching the Games on TV.

She touched in two minutes 27.72 seconds to take the 200m breaststroke crown, less than a second outside the qualifying standard of 2.26.89.

It was the second timeshe had suffered the heartbreak of failing to make the grade, having been beaten by a whisker in the British Championships at the London Aquatics Centre in March.

“I gave it my all but, unfortunately, it just wasn’t quite good enough,” said Renshaw

“Now it’s all about getting back down to it. I will just have to get back to hard training and see where that takes me.”