Swimming: Adlington wins her mind game


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The Independent Online

A sharp word from her psychologist spurred Rebecca Adlington to produce a commanding performance to win her signature event, the 800m freestyle, at the London Aquatics Centre last night and complete a productive week at the British Olympic trials.

As the fastest swimmer the event has seen, an Adlington victory was never in doubt but it was the time that mattered to her. "I was more nervous for this one [than the 400m earlier in the week] as this is the event that means so much to me," said Adlington, who was so tense before one of her finals at the Beijing Games she had to lie down in the call room. "I had to speak to my psychologist Simon [Middlemas]." What did he say? "He told me to 'man up'."

Adlington first turned to Middlemas during her dip in form post-Beijing when she was struggling to adapt to her new life as a national figure familiar far beyond the walls of the pool.

Adlington was followed home by Ellie Faulkner, the 18-year-old from Sheffield swimming a lifetime best to earn a place in her first major meet. "I won't be celebrating," she said, "because I've got to be up early for training."

After missing out on qualification in the 100m backstroke, Lizzie Simmonds led the 200m from start to finish to earn a place in her second Olympics. Michael Rock won the 100m fly to qualify for his second Games.