Olympics, Swimming: Flash We Loved You While You Lasted Janet, Rebecca Adlington Erases Longest Standing World Record With Evans’ Mark in 800 Free

By John Lohn

BEIJING, China, August 16. FOR nearly 19 years, Janet Evans' world record of 8:16.22 in the 800 freestyle stood as the gold standard of world records. It was a performance for the ages, one that was well ahead of its time. But, there's always a day when goodbye must be said, and that was the case Saturday morning.

Winning her second gold medal of the Olympics, Great Britain's Rebecca Adlington clocked a world record of 8:14.10. Also the champion in the 400 freestyle, Adlington went after the global standard from the start and was under world-record pace the entire 16 laps. Down the stretch, when it became clear that Evans' mark was going down, there was distinct appreciation from the crowd.

"It means everything to me," Adlington said. "I never knew it was going to be like this. I just got in there and did my best. It's absolutely amazing. I've worked so hard and it's paid off. I knew I could have swum faster, but to get the world record, it certainly paid off."

Picking up her first medal of the Games, Italy's Alessia Filippi registered a time of 8:20.23 for a silver finish. The multi-talented Filippi, probably best known for her exploits in the 400 individual medley, has had a strong year in the longest of the female races on the Olympic schedule. She was sixth at the 350-meter mark, but picked up the tempo over the last half of the race to land on the podium.

Collecting the bronze medal was Denmark's Lotte Friis, an athlete not mentioned before the Games in the discussion of possible Olympic medalists. Friis turned in fourth heading into the final lap, but managed to outsplit Romania's Camelia Potec in the final 50 meters. Friis was timed in 8:23.03 to the 8:23.11 of Potec.

China's Li Xuanxu was fifth in 8:26.34 while Australian Kyle Palmer (8:26.39) occupied the sixth position. The field was completed by Russian Elena Sokolova (8:29.79) and Great Britain's Cassandra Patten (8:32.35).

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