British Championships: Trio of Commonwealth Records Erased; Gemma Spofforth, Chris Cook Break 1:00 Barriers in Respective Events

SHEFFIELD, England, April 2. THE second day of swimming at the British Championships ended with nine more swimmers making the 2008 Beijing Olympic squad, while three Commonwealth records fell.

After watching the British record in the men's 200 IM fall three times in three consecutive preliminary heats, James Goddard ended the day with a Commonwealth record time of 1:57.72. Liam Tancock, already pre-selected for Beijing, finished second in 1:57.96.

The early heats were impressive as Gregor Tait initially broke the British record with a 1:59.15. Goddard then came over the top in the next heat with a time of 1:58.43 before Tancock claimed the record heading into finals with a 1:57.79, which at the time tied Tancock as the fourth-fastest performer of all time.

Goddard's swift effort to win the title in finals, however, clipped the Commonwealth record and moved him into fourth all time behind Michael Phelps (1:54.98), Ryan Lochte (1:56.11) and Laszlo Cseh (1:56.92).

Overall, only six men have been under 1:58 as Thiago Pereira is tied with Tancock with a 1:57.79 from the 2007 Pan American Games.

"I am a much stronger person than I was in 2004," Goddard told British Swimming. "I feel like I am showing that this week with my swimming. That was a really great race. Liam pushed me all the way and that helped us both achieve some really good times. I felt quite nervous coming into Sheffield this week so it is a huge relief to qualify for the Olympics."

Rebecca Adlington, who already set the British record with a 4:04.91 during prelims of the women's 400 free, lowered it even further during finals with a time of 4:04.50. She easily disposed of second-place finisher Joanne Jackson, who clocked a 4:08.75.

"That felt a lot better than yesterday which helped me to drop the record even further," Adlington told British Swimming. "To do that as a morning swim gives me a lot of confidence. I desperately wanted to go faster today and it all looks really good for my 800m event. I have never really thought about the 400m event but that has all certainly changed after this week."

Mark Foster, who is vying for his fifth Olympic Games spot, put himself in a great position to accomplish the feat. In the 50 free, he touched out British-record holder Simon Burnett, 22.30 to 22.38, for the victory.

"I am delighted to have come here and qualify for another Olympics," Foster told British Swimming. "My preparations have always been geared towards the World Championships and to go so close to my fastest time is no small mean feat. I felt much more relaxed than I did yesterday and I knew today was always going to be about being in the race and trying to get to the wall first and that is what I did."

After already becoming just the ninth swimmer to break the 1:00 barrier in the women's 100 back with a 59.89 during prelims, Gemma Spofforth continued her remarkable run after sweeping the backstroke events at the NCAA Division I Women's Championships a few weeks ago. Spofforth closed out the British crown with a time of 59.90, while Elizabeth Simmonds took second in 1:00.66.

With nine women under a minute, and one of them not even making the Australian Olympic team, the women's 100 back should be astonishing in Beijing. Not only will it take a sub-1:00 time to win a medal, it probably will require a sub-1:00 time just to make it to finals if everyone is on point at the meet.

Chris Cook dipped under a minute in the men's 100 breast to win in 59.88. He becomes just the fourth active swimmer, and fifth overall, to break the barrier. Brendan Hansen (59.13), Kosuke Kitajima (59.53), Alexander Dale Oen (59.76) and Hugues Duboscq (59.78) all have faster times, while Cook's readout cleared the former world record of Roman Sludnov (59.94).

Kristopher Gilchrist wound up taking a distant second in 1:01.06.

"I have had a very quiet year and I am absolutely thrilled at that time," Cook told British Swimming. "It is a massive personal-best and Commonwealth record. Today was always going to be difficult with a good group of guys going for just two places. There was a lot of pressure out there but I just stuck to my plan and I am chuffed to bits to have made the time."