Furniss hails charge Adlington

27 July 2012 / 23:36

Rebecca Adlington will attempt to become the first British swimmer to successfully defend an Olympic title with the coach who has guided her since her pre-teens describing the 23-year-old as "technically the best female swimmer in the world".

The Mansfield-born star starts her programme at the Aquatics Centre on Sunday in the 400 metres freestyle in which she won a surprise gold in Beijing. Bill Furniss has guided Adlington at Nova Centurion from an early age with the pair negotiating a journey mainly of highs of Olympic and world success although there have been some notable lows.

Furniss does not attempt to disguise his admiration for Adlington and her serenity in the water. He said: "I'm biased of course but technically I think she is the best female swimmer in the world.

"She has amazing stroke length, that's the first thing. She's got this ability to keep a line in the water which is... nothing deviates, it's very compact, very precise.

"Most people increase the speed by increasing the rate. Rebecca actually increases her speed by lengthening her stroke - her rate can drop which is uncanny really, you don't see that.

"She's just got an amazing ability, an amazing feel for the water."

He added: "If you were to describe a textbook freestyle there is nobody better - male or female. It's perfect, it's everything you want."

Adlington herself has matured over the past four years since announcing herself to the general public and she finds herself in a totally different position as the favourite going into a home Games.

"I think I'm in a totally different position now. I have grown as an athlete, I have grown as a person," she said.

"It is different as you get older. You learn what works for you. Before Beijing I was so overwhelmed. Everything was new and different. I was under the radar just bobbing along. This time it is very different. At the same time it doesn't mean it is bad. I am a lot older and know a lot more. I know not to run off around the village."