three progress to finals as gibson and cooke falter

Personal best performances from David Davies and Chris Cook were the highlights on an otherwise disappointing day in Montreal for Britain’s swimmers. Davies qualified fourth fastest for tomorrow’s 800m freestyle final, while Cook set his third PB of the meet to secure a spot in the 50m breaststroke final.
Taking part in his first serious race over the distance, Davies started steadily in his 800m heat, before building into the closing stages and posting a time of 7:51.91, just 0.8s off Graeme Smith’s British Record, set when the Scot won world bronze in Fukuoka, and a sizeable improvement on his previous best. He lines up against Grant Hackett in the final but will also have to contend with Russian Yuri Prilukov, in great form these championships, and Larsen Jensen, the Olympic 1500m silver medallist. The final promises to be an exciting race, with all three challengers capable of taking the fight to the seemingly invincible Hackett. Davies will likely need to dip under 7:50 to ensure his place on the podium, but such a performance cannot be discounted.
Meanwhile James Gibson’s reign as world 50m breaststroke Champion will last for only 24 more hours, after the Loughborough swimmer was eliminated at the semi final stage. Having clocked an impressive 27.71 in the heats to qualify second fastest for the semi finals, Gibson tightened up in the evening session and posted 28.18, good enough only for 12th place and an place in the stands watching the final.
Team-mate Chris Cook continued the good work he had started in the 100m event though, winning his semi final in a personal best 27.91 as he booked himself into lane 2 for the final, his first swim under 28 seconds. The USA’s Mark Gangloff led the qualifiers only marginally ahead of the Newcastle swimmer in 27.73, with only 0.31 seconds covering the 8 finalists, but Cook will need to make another improvement to challenge for the podium places.
On the ladies side, Melanie Marshall took another step towards erasing her Athens nightmare as she progressed to the final of the 200m freestyle in 4th place form the semi finals. having clocked a best heat time for her of 2.00.17 in the morning session, Marshall improved that to 1:58.86 in the semi final to comfortably qualify. A podium spot is well within her grasp, but there will be strong challenges from France’s Solenne Figues, who will start in Lane 4, and Italy’s Federica Pellegrini.
The news was not so good for Rebecca Cooke who struggled to impose herself on the final of the 1500m freestyle, for which she had qualified fastest. The City of Glasgow Swimmer stuck with the field for the opening 400m, but steadily lost ground through out the remainder of the race as the USA’s Kate Ziegler established a front running position. By the finish Cooke had slipped back to 7th place, and finished in 16:23.25, eight seconds outside her heats time. Ziegler meanwhile won the gold in 16:00.41, the 5th fastest all time performance, while Switzerland’s Flavia Rigamonti took silver and local favourite Brittany Reimer the bronze.