Adlington sets record as Foster bows out

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The Independent Online

Mark Foster's Olympic career came to a disappointing end when the 38-year-old failed to progress to the semi-finals of the 50 metres freestyle at Beijing's Water Cube today.

Foster, appearing in his fifth Olympics, was slow off the blocks in the final heat as he trailed in behind South Africa's Roland Schoeman, Australian Eamon Sullivan and 100m gold medallist Alain Bernard in a time of 22.35 seconds.

That left him almost two-tenths of a second outside the top 16 as several swimmers dipped under Alexander Popov's 16-year-old Olympic record.

France's Amaury Leveaux set the fastest time, touching the wall in 21.46 secs, 0.01 secs quicker than Brazilian Cesar Cielo Filho, who won bronze in the 100m event earlier in the day.

"In the warm up I felt rubbish, I did a couple of sprints and felt amazing so I thought it was going to be brilliant then I dived in and felt awful again," said the veteran sprinter.

"I don't have any excuses. It was the same time as I did in qualification in Sheffield.

"Going faster in June and doing a time that would have got me in the semis is gutting and I'm annoyed that I'm not going back out there because it's what I enjoy."

Rebecca Adlington, meanwhile, broke Brooke Bennett's Olympic record in the heats of the 800m freestyle as she cruised into Saturday's final.

The gold medal winner in the 400m event, Adlington finished in 8:08.06, over 1.5 secs under Bennett's record, which was set when the American won the Olympic title in Sydney eight years ago.

Adlington will be joined in the final by compatriot Cassie Patten, who finished third in the final heat in 8:25.91 to take eighth place overall.

"I can't believe it to be honest," said Adlington. ."I didn't expect to do that time at all but I'm really pleased.

"My aim was to improve on what I did at the trials and I did that so I'm happy. I knew it was going to be a fast final so I knew I couldn't afford to ease back."

"I'm in really good shape and swimming really well," said Patten. "My main focus is on next week so to come out here and make the final is pretty good. That was quite a hard race.

"I've taken four seconds off my PB after taking six or seven just to make the Olympics and if you said to me a year ago I was going to be in an Olympic final I would have been like, whatever."

Neither Michael Rock nor Todd Cooper were able to move beyond the heats in the 100m butterfly, with the pair drawn beside one another in the same heat.

Rock touched first of the two British swimmers, finishing 0.04s ahead of Cooper in 52.48s while Croatian Milorad Cavic set the fastest qualifying time in the heats, breaking the Olympic record with a swim of 50.76s as he finished ahead of Michael Phelps.