Swimming: Europe sunk but Brits are left buoyant

US turn Duel into one-sided affair but home team on track to make a splash at Olympics

If you can beat the US in the pool, there's a good chance you can be a podium contender at global level. So while the weekend's Duel in the Pool in Manchester saw the European E-Stars of Britain, Italy and Germany drubbed by the United States, a closer look at the results indicates a bright future for Britain.

The E-Stars took just nine out of 30 races as the US won 185-78 on points, but eight of those E-Stars victories were by Britons, and six by the most promising generation of British female talent in memory. They are the world-beaters of the 2012 London Olympics.

Fran Halsall, 19, is a Scouser as gifted and hard-working as she is ebullient. She won her core events in the 50 metres and 100m freestyle in the Duel and added the 100m fly for good measure. She was also a world silver medallist this summer in Rome.

Lizzie Simmonds, 18, won the 200m and 100m backstroke in Manchester, and can pick up Games medals. Gemma Spofforth, 22, world champion and world record breaker in the 100m backstroke this summer, is a contender in the same disciplines.

Rebecca Adlington, a double Olympic champion from Beijing, won the Duel 800m freestyle easily. Adlington and Jo Jackson, who missed the Duel with a lung infection, both have several Olympic and/or world championship freestyle medals and will seek more in London.

Hannah Miley, 20, is an individual medley contender at the highest level, while Ellen Gandy, 18, is a British butterfly specialist who lives in Melbourne and is among a handful of other hopefuls.

The British men who won over the weekend were James Goddard in the 200m IM, and Michael Rock, who shocked Michael Phelps in the 200m fly. Rock's achievement must be considered in context: he was wearing one of the performance-enhanching polyurethane suits that will be banned from 1 January while Phelps wore a textile jammer that will be legal in 2010.

Nonetheless, Rock and Goddard, plus the 50m backstroke world champion Liam Tancock and the upcoming backstroker Chris Walker-Hebborn, 19, and breaststroker Dan Sliwinski, also 19, represent the improving fortunes of British men's swimming.

If Italy and Germany had each chipped in eight race wins like Britain over the weekend, instead of just one between them – Italy's Federico Colbertaldo took the men's 800m freestyle – then the Duel would have been just that, instead of a breeze for the US.

But the best of the Germans (Britta Steffen and Paul Biedermann), and Italians (Federica Pellegrini, Alessia Filippi) did not come and an E-Stars team with more strength in depth from France, the Netherlands, Russia and elsewhere will be a future target. For now, this inaugural Duel on British shores was a noisy, colourful, successful 2,000-seat sell-out.

On the back-to-textile era, Britain's head coach, Dennis Pursley, said: "I'm ecstatic. It will be a level playing field and that is really what sport should be about."

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

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'