GLASGOW, Scotland, April 11. ROBERTO Pavoni had the crowd behind him as he chased his English national record in the 400 IM on the second day of competition at the British long course nationals, while Liam Tancock was in danger of not being able to defend his Commonwealth backstroke titles.
The meet is serving as one of several meets to select swimmers who will participate in the Commonwealth Games for England, Scotland and Wales. Junior-level races are also being contested to help determine the roster for the junior European championships.
Pavoni easily won the men’s 400 IM with a 4:12.24, clipping two tenths off his English record of 4:12.43 from the London Olympics. He still has a second to drop to reach Thomas Haffield’s British record of 4:11.32, but Pavoni was pleased with the swim that put him third in the world and second in the Commonwealth behind the 4:10.68 by Australia’s Thomas Fraser-Holmes. Well back in second today was Lewis Smith with a 4:15.76, and Max Litchfield took third with a 4:16.61. Smith had already secured a spot on Scotland’s team last week, and cemented that position today, while Litchfield was off Britain’s standard of 4:13.67.
Liam Tancock, back in full training for just a few months, couldn’t put up his usual front-end speed in the 100 back final, allowing Chris Walker-Hebborn to take the title with a 53.82, just nine hundredths off the English automatic qualifying time. Tancock was second with a 54.51, which might not be fast enough to get some consideration from those officially picking the Commonwealth Games squad for England, and therefore he might not get the chance to defend his Commonwealth titles in the 50 and 100 backstrokes. Charlie Boldison took third with a 55.10.
Rachael Kelly pulled off an upset of sorts in the women’s 100 fly final. Accelerating in the final 25 meters, she got past early leaders Fran Halsall and Siobhan-Marie O’Connor in the final two strokes to win with a 58.40. O’Connor was second with a 58.42, while Halsall faded to third with a 58.78. All three were outside the English qualifying time of 57.96.
James Guy had a tough battle with Calum Jarvis in the 200 free final, winning with a 1:47.54 to Jarvis’ 1:47.77. Guy, the 400 free champion from yesterday, had a one-second lead on Jarvis at 150 meters but couldn’t keep that distance between the two in the finish. Both fell off the English team qualifying standard of 1:46.52. Nicholas Grainger was third with a 1:48.57.
With Adam Brown scratching from the 50 fly final, Ben Proud had an easier path to winning the national title with a 23.42. Antony James was second with a 23.90 and Sam Horrocks took third with a 24.27. Another event not being used to select Commonwealth Games squads, the women’s 50 breast, was won by Sophie Taylor with a 30.98, followed by Sarah Vasey (31.43) and Corrie Scott (31.62).
Halsall qualified first for the final of her signature event, the 50 freestyle, posting a 25.02 in today’s semifinals. She’ll need to be much faster to get on the Commonwealth Games squad and get the opportunity to improve on her silver medal finish from 2010. The English qualifying standard is 24.59. Rebecca Guy will be second seed in the final tomorrow thanks to a 25.34 tonight. Sian Harkin was third overall with a 25.37.
Adam Peaty, rapidly improving this year, posted the only swim under 1:00 in today’s 100 breast semifinals with a 59.83. Ross Murdoch, who broke a minute last week at the Scottish nationals in the same pool, cruised to the second seed with a 1:00.16. Michael Jamieson, yesterday’s 200 breast winner, was third with a 1:00.85.
No one could break 1:00 in the women’s 100 back semifinals today, but Lauren Quigley got close with a 1:00.01. Georgia Davies qualified second with a 1:00.32 with a 1:00.89 posted by Jessica Fullove and Elizabeth Simmonds to set up an exciting final.
Five races specifically for junior swimmers who did not qualify for the senior finals took place tonight, headlined by the British junior record by Duncan Scott in the 200 free with a 1:49.88. Scott beat the 1:50.20 posted by James Guy in 2012 to break the age group mark for 16-year-olds. Adam Taylor won the men’s 50 fly with a 24.62, while Oliver Jermy took the men’s 400 IM with a 4:34.12.
Jack Ness took the race out hard in the men’s 100 back, but fell to fifth as Luke Greenback took the junior title with a 56.31. Amelia Clynes took the women’s 100 fly with a 1:00.37.
Results of the junior women’s 50 breaststroke were not immediately available.