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Ellen Gandy holds off Lowe

March 7, 2012 21:23 pm

Ellen Gandy and Jemma Lowe both pushed through the pain barrier to qualify for the Olympic team in a 200 metres butterfly race where the final 25m felt like "swimming uphill" at the Aquatics Centre on Wednesday night.

World silver medallist Gandy flew through the first 150m and was 1.84 seconds inside Katinka Hosszu's European record from 2009 at the final turn.

However, the 20-year-old paid for such a pace and the last 25m were excruciating with Lowe catching her, but ultimately Gandy held on to touch in two minutes 06.01 seconds, adding a berth in the 200m to the two-length race she won earlier this week. Double world finalist Lowe was 0.36 secs adrift with both women well within the qualifying time, with Jess Dickons placing third.

Gandy admitted the race pace had not been planned, saying: "I was so unbelievably nervous before that race. I thought I'd be more relaxed because I was on the team for the 100m and I felt I was going to faint in the call room.

"My nerves must have taken me out really fast and I absolutely paid for that on the last 50m - I don't think my coach is going to be happy with that at all. I've just got to go back and analyse what happened and hopefully it won't happen again."

Bath ITC training partners Andrew Willis and Michael Jamieson made the team in the 200m breaststroke after they produced the form that saw them to last year's World Championships final. Jamieson was fifth in Shanghai last summer, three places ahead of his team-mate, and he led at the final turn, but Willis paced his race perfectly, swimming the last 50m 0.9 faster than Jamieson to edge past and touch in 2:09.33.

His time was just 0.32 off Kris Gilchrist's British record set in 2009 during the turbo-suit era and would have been the sixth fastest in the world last year. Jamieson was 0.51 adrift with both men setting new personal bests some way inside the qualification time, but for Gilchrist third position meant only that he had missed the cut.

British record holder Simon Burnett won the 100m freestyle ahead of James Disney-May and Craig Gibbons. However, Burnett's time of 49.33 was outside the qualifying time, neither will the USA-based swimmer make a second attempt in Sheffield in June - instead hoping to be part of any sprint squad that may be selected.

Fran Halsall sounded a warning with 53.83 in the 100m freestyle semis, just 0.35 off her best time in 2011 which was world-ranked fourth. Stacey Tadd heads the field into the 200m breaststroke, Calum Jarvis leads the 200m backstroke and Ieuan Lloyd became only the sixth Briton to swim a sub two-minute 200m individual medley in 1:59.39. James Goddard was also safely into the final.

In the multi-disability events, six-time Paralympic champion Sascha Kindred (S6) won the 50m butterfly in 32.66 with Susanna Rodgers (S7) claiming the women's race in 36.64. Eleni Papadopoulos (S10) took the 100m butterfly in 1:13.07 with Rafael Bagott (S13) taking the men's equivalent in 1:01.40.

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