relay risk pays off

The ladies 4x100m freestyle relay heats saw Britain take a bit of a gamble as all four of the first choice squad were rested for tonight’s finals. The morning quartet of Katherine Wyld, Amy Smith, Jessica Sylvester and Julia Beckett performed admirably securing 7th place and a lane in the final in 3:46.12. The likely evening line up is Melanie Marshall, European Junior Champion Fran Halsall, Ros Brett and Caitlin McClatchey, with the starting order to be determined. Swimming from an outside lane the British girls will have an excellent medal chance, but face stiff competition from the likes of Sweden, the Netherlands and fastest qualifiers Germany.
By contrast, the men’s team will remain unchanged, with only four relay swimmers picked for the British team. The starting order will definitely be changed, for this evening with Simon Burnett likely to lead off to ensure the team is in contention, having recorded the fastest split of all of the heats with a sizzling 48.19, and Ross Davenport who posted a swift 49.52 . This morning the quartet, completed by Craig Houston and Chris Cozens, recorded a time of 3:19.01 for 5th fastest, but will need to improve significantly to mount a podium challenge.
Elsewhere Liam Tancock showed he ash shaken off his broken wrist with a tidy 54.83 to qualify for the 100m backstroke semi finals, where he will be joined by Matt Clay. Gregor Tait and James Goddard both missed out by virtue of the two per nation rule. Chris Cook, another returning from injury, also made it safely through in the company of James Gibson to the 100m breaststroke semis, Darren Mew the unlucky third placed Brit. Lizzie Simmonds and Mel Marshall will also contest the semis in the 200m backstroke.
Meanwhile, final spots were also achieved by Hannah Miley in the 400IM and David Carry in the 400m Freestyle, the latter chasing a medal to add to his Commonwealth title in this event. The Scotsman qualified 6th from a very fast set of heats which saw defending champion Emmiliano Brembilla of Italy eliminated.
Outside the British performance the biggest shock was the failure of Laure Manadou to progress to the final of the 400IM. Having completed the first 200m relatively comfortably the Frenchwoman dropped well off the pace on eh breaststroke leg and gave up in the freestyle – splitting only a 1:10.
The team is upbeat after the heats feeling it was a decent start to the meet but the concern for all teams will be the incredibly hot sun and the resultant risk of dehydration that will occur. There is no shade in the stands so swimmers will be minimising their time there; the only swimmers you will see in the stands will be those who have finished all their swims.