Tuesday, 20 April 2010

England release first list of swimmers for CWG

Double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington and world champions Liam Tancock and Gemma Spofforth have all been selected to represent England at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in October.

The trio are among a 29-strong swimming team who will travel to India for the Games which take place from October 3 to 14 but a notable absentee at this point is Olympic and world medallist Joanne Jackson, whose ongoing health problems have decimated her season so far.

The 23-year-old's training has been pretty much obliterated by the severe asthma brought on by flu and a chest infection.

(Click here to see list of British swimmers for Commonwealth Games.)

As a result of having to breathe so much harder, Jackson's ribs have been popping out during training and at the recent British Gas Championships in Sheffield, which served as the first Commonwealth trials as well as GB selection for the European Championships in Budapest in August, the Loughborough swimmer was unable to speak after the 200metres freestyle final in which she came third.

Jackson then withdrew from the 800m and did not take up her place in the 400m final, won by Adlington.

By virtue of her efforts over four lengths, Jackson booked at least a relay spot on the 4x200m freestyle relay squad for Budapest and she has two more chances to qualify for Delhi.

Other notable names for Delhi include world 100m freestyle silver medallist Fran Halsall, double world backstroke finalist Lizzie Simmonds, who has been on scorching form this year, Keri-Anne Payne, world open water champion who will focus on the pool and Achieng Ajulu-Bushell who has been selected for England for the first time after deciding to switch sporting nationality from Kenya.

Up-and-coming swimmers Aimee Wilmott and Rebecca Turner will also travel to Delhi.

Tancock heads the men's team as he looks to claim the 50m and 100m backstroke double after taking silver and gold four years ago along with Simon Burnett and Ross Davenport, who each won double gold in Melbourne.

The likes of James Goddard, 200m backstroke champion eight years ago in Manchester, will be joined by highly-rated prospects Roberto Pavoni, Robert Bale and Adam Brown, who all won in Sheffield recently.

Craig Hunter, chef de mission of the England team in Delhi, said: "I'd like to welcome our first group of swimmers to the England team for Delhi and wish them the very best in their continuing preparations for the 2010 Commonwealth Games."

John Atkinson, England's swimming team leader, said: "The swimmers selected for the England team can now begin their preparations for Delhi in earnest. For the others that didn't meet the qualification criteria there are still 13 places available on the team.

"Having an early trials will give the selected swimmers the chance to have a longer preparations and the later trials gives those swimmers that are hitting form later in the year a chance to make the team," he added.

"I look forward to seeing the performances at our later trials as the athletes try to qualify for the Games."

A further 13 swimmers can earn selection at the European Championships in August and the British Gas ASA National Championships in Sunderland.

There have been security concerns surrounding the Games following a number of incidents in India, the most recent at the weekend when the Indian Premier League match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians was delayed due to two bomb explosions outside the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.

Of the security issues, Adlington has complete faith in the team bosses.

She told "They send us out emails all the time about security and I think if any individual swimmer has a real concern we raise that issue with the bosses and go to them directly.

"At the minute we are still planning on going and will still hopefully be able to compete but if anything happens in the meantime just straight away they would pull out because they have got our best interests at heart and they want us to do well as well.

"They are on top of it so we leave it in their hands."


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