Adlington taking nothing for granted
March 2, 2012 13:40 pm
This time four years ago Rebecca Adlington was gearing up for the 2008 Olympic trials in Sheffield unaware her life would be transformed by her success in Beijing months later.
It is misleading to say the Mansfield-born swimmer came from nowhere given she was a European silver medallist and world short-course champion, while qualification for China saw her break Commonwealth records over both 400 metres and 800m freestyle.
However, she seared herself on to the public consciousness following her double title-winning exploits in Beijing.
Four years on and the 23-year-old is looking to book a spot on the Great Britain team at the British Gas Swimming Championships, which double as the Olympic trials, starting at the London Aquatics Centre on Saturday.
For the past 12 months the Nova Centurion swimmer has insisted she is not taking qualification for granted, a mantra she has reiterated.
She said: "It's just how you have to be - realistic. I am not stupid, I am in a tough event."
To many outsiders Adlington might seem a shoo-in for London but the 400m and 800m are both competitive and with only two slots per event casualties are inevitable.
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In the shorter race, Adlington will be joined by Olympic bronze medallist Jo Jackson, who has conquered her illness problems, and former world relay medallist Jaz Carlin as well as a number of young prospects.
Opposition in the 800m includes world open water champion and Adlington's best friend Keri-Anne Payne - with her first tilt at the event since 2006 - Jackson and Carlin. Adlington is unsure of what will happen beyond the summer, some time off resting and to prepare for Payne's wedding at which she is bridesmaid the only certainty.
She said: "If I don't make the Games obviously I will heavily consider retirement because I would not be improving, it's a big thing to carry on for another four years. If I don't qualify through illness or injury I'd want to carry on because I'd have unfinished business. But if I don't qualify and I have done all I can, then you've got to analyse the situation."