Swimming: Adlington beats Friis with style to take gold

Briton storms past Dane in world 800m freestyle in the country where she won two Olympic titles

Rebecca Adlington has always been the golden girl, so it came as no surprise when she produced an inspired performance yesterday to rescue Britain's otherwise disappointing showing at the World Championships here. Straining every sinew in a thrilling race, Adlington produced a blistering final length to overhaul the defending champion,Lotte Friis, and add the world 800m freestyle title to her Olympic crown.

It was Adlington's second medal of the competition, following her silver in the 400m freestyle on the first night, and Britain's third in total, Ellen Gandy having taken silver in the 200m butterfly. The double Olympic champion was the fastest qualifier into last night's final, having achieved a time in Friday's heat that only she had bettered this year.

As expected, the race became a private battle between Adlington and Friis, the Dane who won the title in Rome two years ago, when the Briton was distraught after finishing out of the medals. The pair went stroke for stroke for almost the entire race, the biggest gap between the two being the 0.65sec lead Friis established with 100m to go.

However, the Briton responded and a final length of 28.91sec saw her overhaul Friis and take the title in 8min 17.51sec, 0.69sec ahead of the Dane. The United States' former world champion Kate Ziegler was third.

Immediately after the race, Adlington, 22, said: "I don't know what to say, I'm so happy. Obviously, it's absolutely amazing. We've always raced against each other and it's always been one does it one year and one does it the next year, but I hope to God it's me next year [at the London Olympics]."

Her gold medal followed a gutsy display last Sunday, when she followed up a poor heat by swimming from lane one to take the 400m freestyle silver.

Yesterday, swimming in lane four, Adlington was the race favourite, and the Nova Centurion athlete is clearly one who can rise to the occasion. She said: "I definitely think I'm the kind of person that can handle pressure. I have pretty much learned to cope with that now, I think I've had to after the Olympics. I want to do well, I want to succeed, I don't put all the hard work in and get up early in the morning just to come and not make it happen. A lot of people do that sometimes."

Another swimmer to show Olympic form on returning to China was the American Michael Phelps, who registered a comfortable win in the 100m butterfly that gave him a 25th world title. Phelps followed his usual strategy to win his third gold of the championship: touching third at the turn and pulling ahead in the second lap, to finish in 50.71sec.

"It's definitely more comfortable having this than having a hundredth win," Phelps said, referring to his win by a hundredth of a second over Milorad Cavic at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Yesterday, Konrad Czerniak of Poland took the silver in 51.15sec and another American, Tyler McGill, took bronze in 51.26sec.

Cavic, who is regaining his form following back surgery, did not advance from the morning heats on Friday, while the American Ryan Lochte, who beat Phelps for goldin the 200m freestyle and 200m individual medley, was not entered.

The American teenager Missy Franklin continued to impress. The 16-year-old won the first major individual gold of her career in the 200m backstroke, then came back an hour later and swam the anchor leg as the United States took gold in the 4x100m medley relay. The British team finished sixth.

Franklin has three golds and five medals in all, having also set up the Americans' victory in the 4x200m freestyle relay two days ago, when she swam faster than Federica Pellegrini did in winning the 200m.

"I totally made sure I came in here and left everything in the pool, and I did," Franklin said, flashing a wide smile. "I'm thrilled."

Rebecca Soni set up the relay win with a solid breaststroke leg; she also has three golds. It was the first time the Americans had won this relayat the worlds since 1998 in Perth, Australia.

British hopes today will be centred on Liam Tancock in the 50m backstroke and Fran Halsall in the 50m freestyle. Tancock, the defending champion, won his semi-final in 24.62sec to qualify fastest.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist / Physio / Osteopath

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for o...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most