Success would be bittersweet for Payne

01 March 2012 / 16:38

Should Keri-Anne Payne succeed in her attempt to add Olympic pool selection to the open water spot she has already booked, her achievement will be bittersweet after coach Sean Kelly was admitted to hospital.

British Swimming announced earlier this week Kelly had been hospitalised "for a period of observation and treatment" and would not be attending the British Gas Swimming Championships, which double as the Olympic trials and start on Saturday.

Lars Humer has been appointed as acting head coach, but for Payne and the rest of Kelly's Stockport ITC charges his absence will be very visible.

Payne has been with Kelly for eight years since she joined from Rochdale Aquabears and he has guided her to two world open water titles, in 2009 and 2011, as well as silver in Beijing four years ago.

The 24-year-old has acknowledged the closeness of the relationship between coach and swimmer, telling Press Association Sport: "You learn that trust and I've been with Sean for eight years so we know each other really well.

"He can read me really well and I can read him well. Everybody has that sort of bond with their coaches."

Payne booked her open water spot with victory in the 10 kilometre race at last year's World Championships in Shanghai.

The Johannesburg-born swimmer will now look to make the Great Britain pool team at the event which starts on Saturday.

She will attempt to qualify alongside Olympic champion and best friend Rebecca Adlington - who will be Payne's bridesmaid at her September wedding to fellow swimmer David Carry - in the 800m freestyle as well as the 400m individual medley in which she won her first long-course international medal when she picked up Commonwealth bronze in 2010.

On the prospect of competing with Adlington, Payne - who along with Adlington, Mark Foster and Sascha Kindred are launching exclusive films on Facebook - added: "That would be amazing, it would be brilliant."

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