Beijing Olympics 2008 - Swimming

Swimming events of the 29th Olympiad in Beijing. For detailed reports and results follow Beijing 08 menu tab.


Ex Millfield swimmer Ross Davenport is interviewed by James Hickman in Beijing (1m 57s flash player required to view)

Beijing 2008 Swimming - Phelps wins eighth Gold medal and Team GB simmers enjoy most successful Olympics in history

The final swimming session in the Water Cube did not disappoint and was full of excitement, record breaking and history making. Michael Phelps (USA) became the greatest Olympian in history. He has won eight gold medals in eight days of swimming in Beijing and in doing so broken seven world records and the Olympic record in the 100m butterfly in which he narrowly missed out on the world record.

Phelps is the most decorated swimmer in Olympic history with fourteen Olympic gold medals to his name. Swimming hero Mark Spitz (USA) had said ďIf Phelps equals seven gold medals it will be like him being the second man on the moon. If he wins eight gold medals it will be like him being the first man on Mars.Ē

Beijing 2008 Swimming - Adlington takes Janet Evans record and Phelps makes it 7 out of 7 but only just

Team GB's Rebecca Adlington picked up her second individual gold medal of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in true style. She smashed the longest standing Women's 800m freestyle world record and wrote her way into the record books, becoming the first British woman to have won two individual swimming gold medals at the Olympic Games.


Adlington obliterated the field, winning her second gold in 8:14.10 and smashing the world record by 2.11 seconds. Janet Evans (USA) set the record in 1989, six months after Adlington was born. Adlington is the first British swimmer since 1908 to win two Olympic gold medals.

"I canít believe it, I went out so quick. Itís fantastic that all the hard work over the years has paid off, Iím so pleased. I knew it would be tough and was expecting a battle. Bill [Furniss - coach] and I decided the race plan was to swim my own race. When I realised I was on my own I just went for it and felt I could go got the time. I couldnít have done it without my mum and dad, it was fantastic that they were finally here, we met in the athleteís lodge yesterday and it was great to see them. Iím now having some time off to spend with my family and boyfriend, then back in the pool in October. Iím so happy."

Adlington led from 100m finishing a massive 6.13 seconds ahead of Alessia Filippi (ITA) who finished second in 8:20.23 with Lotte Friis (DEN) in bronze in 8:23.03.

Cassie Patten, finished in eighth in 8:32.35. After the race Patten sent the queen a message, "If the queen is watching this girl [Adlington] should be made a Dame, Dame Rebecca Adlington. Two Olympic goldís is awesome. Sheís my best mate so Iím allowed to say that," concluded Patten, who is now focusing on her open water 10k next on Wednesday.

Michael Phelps made history by collecting his seventh Olympic gold medal in the Menís 100m butterfly. It looked like Phelps was going to fall at his penultimate hurdle, with Milorad Cavic (Serbia) leading as they approached the wall. Phelps somehow managed to touch ahead of Cavic by only 0.01 of a second and in doing so broke the Olympic record. Gold went to Phelps in 50.58, silver to Cavic in 50.59 and bronze to Andrew Lauterstein (AUS) IN 51.12. After the race, Phelps was ecstatic "I had no idea the race was that close. When I took that last stroke I thought I had lost the race there, but it turns out that was the difference. I'm just lost for words."

Beijing 2008 Swimming - European Record for GB 4x100m Medley Relay Team

The final session of swimming heats saw Fran Halsall, David Davies and the Menís and Womenís 4x100m Medley relay teams qualify for their respective finals.

After finishing eighth in the morning 100m freestyle final, Fran Halsall returned to the pool for the heats of the Womenís 50m freestyle. Finishing third in her heat, she qualified eighth fastest, just outside her personal best in 24.93. "I was very relaxed and it felt good. I approached it with no stress or tension and really enjoyed it. My stroke rate was good but I breathed too many times. I can tighten that up for the semi final," said Halsall.

Beijing 2008 Swimming - World records for Lochte and Phelps and Soni ends Jones dominance

Day seven of the swimming saw Fran Halsall swim a fantastic final of the Women's 100m freestyle, Lizzie Simmonds progress through to the final of the 200m backstroke, and Gregor Tait, James Goddard and Liam Tancock competing in their respective finals.

The Women's 200m backstroke saw Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe look strong in qualifying for tomorrowís final fastest in 2:07.76, with Elizabeth Biesel (USA) second fastest in 2:07.90 and Meagan Nay (AUS) third in 2:08.09.

Lizzie Simmonds qualified for the final in seventh place in 2:08.96 in her preferred event. "It was tough getting up for that race after last night but I couldn't be happier with how it went. I've made an Olympic final. Its the stuff you dream of. Anything can happen now, there are some tough girls in there so we'll have to see. I'm very excited." said Simmonds.

Gemma Spofforth, who just missed out on a bronze medal in the 100m backstroke, set a new personal best of 2:09.19 in the 200m backstroke, finishing ninth overall but narrowly missing out on the final. "My mind was more focused on my swim today. I went out and enjoyed it. I love swimming, love the atmosphere and love being here," said Spofforth.

Beijing 2008 Swimming - Adlington and Simmonds spice up the record books and Patten realises one dream

In the heats on day six of the swimming at the Olympic Games, two GB girls had record breaking swims. Rebecca Adlington showed her strength by setting a new Olympic record in her preferred event, the 800m freestyle and Lizzie Simmonds broke the British record in the 200m backstroke.

The evening session started with veteran of five Olympic Games, Mark Foster, competing in the heats of the Menís 50m freestyle. Unfortunately Foster did not qualify for the semi-final finishing in equal twenty-third place in a time of 22.35. "I was more nervous than I have been for a long time coming into this race, Iím disappointed with my swim and would love to have made the semi finals and finals, although in my heart I knew that I wouldnít medal. I felt awful in the warm up, then I did a few sprints and felt amazing, but I felt awful again in the race and despite the preparation there was nothing I could do about it. I guess I shouldnít be too disappointed with my time as itís similar to the time I swam in the trials."

On a positive note Foster said "I have enjoyed these Games more than before. It was a wonderful honour to be chosen to carry the Great Britain flag at the Opening Ceremony. Walking with the flag was possibly the Olympic medal for me. It was amazing. This is the most talented British swimming team that I have been on, across the board we have done fabulous, itís a good team and we have all worked really well together."

Beijing 2008 Swimming - Tancock makes Individual Medley Final

Great Britain swimmers Fran Halsall, Gregor Tait, Liam Tancock and James Goddard have all qualified for finals in their individual events.

The Womenís 100m freestyle semi-final saw Fran Halsall competing in the second semi-final. In the first semi, drama unfolded with the current World record holder, Lisbeth Trickett (Australia) swimming a slow semi-final and looking like she was not going to make the final. However, the Chinese swimmer Jiaying Pang was disqualified which allowed Trickett to squeeze into the final in eighth place.

Thankfully, Fran Halsall of Great Britain avoided any drama and had a great swim, finishing in 53.94 and qualifying for the final in fifth place. "That was a bit harder than last night. I felt physically and emotionally drained but with the whole team behind me, I managed to get up again and I'm thrilled to make the final, itís all to play for now. As long as I can get in and give a good performance anything can happen." Halsall continued "I've been told that if you do something three times then you can improve. I've gone 53 [seconds] on three occasions now so I hope I can go faster in the final."

Beijing 2008 Swimming - Relay disappointment for GB girls

After disappointment, with the Great Britain Womenís 4x200m freestyle relay team missing out on a place in the final, the strength of team spirit within the GB camp was evident. Embracing the Olympic spirit, the relay team supported each other and were keen to emphasise the need to stay positive for the rest of the team, especially after the spectacular performances seen so far.

It was not all disappointment for the British team though. The first event of Day 6 of the swimming in Beijing saw Fran Halsall win her heat of the Womenís 100m freestyle by 0.6 seconds in 53:39, becoming the first British female to go sub 54 seconds on two occasions. Halsall qualified fifth for tomorrowís semi-final, just one place behind Natalie Coughlin (USA) who won the 100m backstroke, silver in the 4x100m freestyle relay and bronze in the 400m Individual Medley and one place in front of current World record holder, Australian, Lisbeth Trickett who qualified for tomorrowís semi-final in sixth.

Beijing 2008 Swimming - Phelps rewrites history books and World records continue to tumble

At just over the half way point of the swimming competition in Beijing, sixteen British records and sixteen World records, six today, have been broken. Former GB Olympic medallist Steve Parry highlighted this saying, 'It has been a morning of smashing what I thought were unbreakable records. Britain are progressing all the time but so are the rest of the world.'

Day 4 morning session started, as it was to go on, with two World records in the first two semi-finals in the Menís 100m freestyle semi-final. In the first semi-final Alain Bernard (France) lowered the World record to 47.20, only for it to be lowered in the following semi-final by Australian Eamon Sullivan.

Sullivan, who held the World record coming into the semi-final was clearly pleased to have regained his title after loosing it momentarily to Bernard. Team GB did not have any swimmers qualify for the FINA ĎAí qualification standard at the British Olympic trials and therefore had no swimmers in this event.

Beijing 2008 Swimming - Millfield boys help GB to relay record

British swimmers again impressed at the Water Cube in Beijing. The Menís 4x200m freestyle relay team set a new British record to qualify for the final. Jemma Lowe, Ellen Gandy and Kris Gilchrist qualified for their respective semi-finals.

Youngest member of the Team GB swimming team, Ellen Gandy and her team mate Jemma Lowe, who made the final in the Womenís 100m butterfly, both made it through to the semi-finals of the Womenís 200m butterfly. Lowe had a fantastic last 50m to qualify in tenth in 1:08.98, with seventeen-year-old Gandy qualifying in fifteenth in 2:08.98.

"Iíve got more experience in the 200m so I know not to go out too fast. The last 50m still hurt a lot thoughĒ said Lowe, who set out her plans for the semi-finals saying "I want to swim faster in the semi-final but weíll have to wait and see."

Gandy said, "Iím gutted with the time. I would have liked to have go faster than I did in the [Olympic] trials but itís my first Olympic Games so Iím happy." Hopefully she will achieve her aim of swimming faster in tomorrowís semi-finals.

Beijing Olympics 2008 - British and European records for Tancock and Spofforth

Team GB swimmer, Gemma Spofforth broke the European record in the Women's 100m backstroke with teammate Liam Tancock breaking the British record Menís 100m backstroke. After the excitement of yesterday, spirits were high in the team with Cailtin McClatchey progressing to the final and the younger athletes looking towards London 2012.

The morning session started with the Womenís 200m freestyle semi-final. After winning the bronze medal in the Womenís 400m freestyle yesterday, Jo Jackson had a disappointing swim, looking tired after her exertion yesterday, recording 1:58.70 in her heat, finishing fourteenth overall and missing out on the final. 'I wanted to give it a good shot, but it didnít happen. I didnít feel great in the warm up. I now just need to pick myself up for the relay,' she said.

In the same event Caitlin McClatchey, had a strong tactical race finishing seventh overall in 1:57.73 which qualified her for the final. McClatchey said 'I would have liked to have gone quicker but its fantastic to get into the final. Itís tough swimming finals in the morning but we have prepared for it, Iím happy with my swim and hope to be rested and ready to go for the finals,' said McClatchey who will also be swimming in the Womenís 100m freestyle on Wednesday.

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