hackett king of the pool in montreal

A personal best performance for David Davies was not enough to get the Welshman into medal contention in the 800m freestyle, a race that was dominated by Grant Hackett on his way to a new world record. Elsewhere the best finish for Britain came from Chris Cook in the 50m breaststroke, while Mel Marshall fell at the final hurdle in the 200m freestyle.
Davies had entered the 800m final ranked 4th, but as Hackett left the field 10m in his wake over the opening 400m he found himself in a five way battle for the minor places. At the 500m mark the USA’s Larsen Jensen made his move, putting clear water between himself and the chasing group, including Davies, and guaranteeing himself the silver medal. It was at that point that the pace began to tell on Davies who slipped back over the closing laps to finish 6th in 7:51.54 just 0.48 seconds outside the British record and a small improvement on his PB. His focus now switches to the 1500m event at the weekend.
Hackett meanwhile had managed to put enough space between himself and the world record splits by the 700m mark to take Ian Thorpe’s phenomenal final 100m split of 53.23 from his record swim in Fukuoka out of the equation. Hackett turned with two laps to go 3.82 seconds under world record pace, but struggled in the closing stages to come home 0.51 seconds under the old mark.
Newcastle’s Chris Cook has been Britain’s most consistent performer in Montreal so far and again proved so on the fourth night of finals. His 5th place in the final of the 50m breaststroke was achieved in a time just outside his best, but he has now set three new PB’s and swam in two finals this week. Cook was in contention at the 35m mark, but faded into the wall as he posted 28.00, only marginally behind Gold medallist Mark Warnecke’s 27.63. Former champion James Gibson’s pre race prediction that his heats swim of 27.71 would have placed him in the final was proved accurate with the silver going to Mark Gangloff in exactly that time. Unfortunately the Loughborough man had fallen at the semi final stage.
Britain’s only other swimmer in action was Melanie Marshall who took her place in the 200m freestyle final. Marshall had started among the pre race favourites, and put herself firmly ion contention over the opening 100m, but was unable to maintain the pressure in the second half of the race. As the race heated up in the central lanes, Marshall was unable to respond and the title went to Solenne Figues of France in 1:58.60. This must go down as another missed opportunity for the Loughborough swimmer who posted 1:59.36, almost two seconds outside her best time.