Swimming: Ellie Simmonds overcomes 'killer' fatigue to book place in final

 

Ellie Simmonds was still running on adrenalin as she overcame "killer"
fatigue to book a spot in tonight's final of the S6 50 metres freestyle
at what has become a second home for the 17-year-old.

The Walsall-born swimmer has already cemented her place as one of the faces of London 2012 and her appearance behind the blocks prompted wild cheers at the Aquatics Centre.

Two titles and two world records in the SM6 200m individual medley and S6 400m freestyle have already come her way although it could well prove troublesome for Simmonds to add the one-length dash to her roll call.

Fifth in Beijing, she clocked 36.45 seconds behind Holland's defending champion Mirjam de Koning-Peper, American Victoria Arlen - second in the 400m - and Tanja Groepper of Germany.

Some think victory is a formality when Simmonds dives into a pool but she was realistic about the challenge she faces to add to her medals.

The Walsall-born swimmer said: "It's going to be a tough race. The 50m free is my fourth best event but it helps develop my 100 free for later on in the week.

"I am really achy this morning from my 200IM: it was a bit of a killer.

"To do that time nearly on my PB and the way I am feeling I am really happy so hopefully I can go out there and do a PB.

"It's going to be really tough to medal."

She admitted she had had little sleep after her exertions last night.

She said: "Not much really but I think I am running on adrenalin at the moment from what I did last night.

"It's really good, it's starting to get quite tiring but I am looking forward to going back now and having a massage and having physio and rest up for tonight's final."

Despite being tired, the Swansea-based swimmer would not consider reducing her programme.

"I train for four events, at major competitions I do four events.

"I like doing all of them, it gets me all excited, I don't like being bored, I don't like sitting around watching.

"It's good to watch the team but I really just want to be competing so today doing the 50 free, it's a splash and dash really.

"I am more of a distance swimmer than a sprinter so to do that time this morning was really good."

While Simmonds commanded the spotlight, there were a number of other performances that bode well for further British medals tonight.

Heather Frederiksen and Hannah Russell were both quickest into their respective finals.

Defending champion Frederiksen produced an emphatic performance in the S8 100m backstroke to head the field by more than four seconds in 1min 17.63secs.

The City of Salford athlete was highly emotional after her silver in the S8 400m freestyle following 12 months of ill-health when she was diagnosed with neuralgic migraines.

When not hospitalised, Frederiksen was often bed-ridden and she had only six weeks' training but the Billinge-born woman is nothing if not gutsy.

She said: "The 100m backstroke is my main event - I was gold medallist in Beijing in it.

"So it was very nerve-wracking coming in but at the end of the day I got out there and gave it a go and I'm going in ranked number one tonight.

"So I'm going to get out there and get in the mix and have a right good go."

Russell has already secured two medals on her Paralympic debut and today she topped the S12 100m freestyle in 1:02.22.

The 16-year-old is composed and eloquent and she was not looking too far ahead this morning.

She said: "I am really, really pleased with that.

"The heats don't really mean anything to be honest.

"In the final that is when everyone really steps their game up and I need to step my game up.

"If I do, I'll hopefully get a chance for a medal."

Stephanie Millward was second into the S9 400m freestyle as she looks to claim her third medal of the Games.

The 30-year-old did not compete in this event in Beijing, where fourth in the 100m backstroke was the closest she came to the podium, but so far in London Millward has a silver and a bronze to her name.

Today, she was seven seconds clear of her nearest rival Ellie Cole in 4:46.00 although Natalie du Toit was 13 seconds ahead of the Briton as she looks for her third successive title.

Millward said: "It felt really good, it was pretty much the perfect morning swim.

"Natalie looked really good and the gold will be tough but I am feeling confident about getting a medal."

Matt Walker was second into the S7 50m freestyle in 28.59 behind American Lantz Lamback as he looks for his fourth consecutive medal in this event.

He said: "A bit disappointed I didn't go a bit faster but hey I am in a middle lane.

"I am going to give it everything I've got tonight, it's my last race here.

"I want a medal desperately - this is not like me, normally I've got a medal now."

Jonathan Fox and Josef Craig are also into the final.

Other British finalists are Oliver Hynd, Thomas Young and Sean Fraser (S8 100m backstroke), James Crisp (S8 400m freestyle) and James Clegg (S7 100m freestyle).

Susie Rodgers seeks her third medal in 24 hours in the S7 50m freestyle.

PA

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

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

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'