Olympics, Swimming: Rebecca Adlington Sets Olympic Record in 800 Free Prelims

By John Lohn

BEIJING, China, August 14. CLEARLY, Rebecca Adlington and Camelia Potec were not concerned about expending too much energy in the preliminaries of the women's 800 freestyle. Both women hovered around world-record pace for much of their swims before falling off the pace toward the finish. No worries, though, as the final still remains.

Adlington established an Olympic record while winning her heat, clocking in at 8:18.06 to take down the 2000 record of Brooke Bennett, which sat at 8:19.67. Adlington has been superb this week as she already owns the gold medal in the 400 freestyle. As for Potec, she won her heat in 8:19.70, a good indicator for a final that will be missing a pair of big names.

In a shocking development, Americans Kate Ziegler and Katie Hoff did not qualify for the championship final after turning in preliminary efforts of 8:26.98 and 8:27.78, respectively. The times were eight seconds off their personal bests. Having tackled an arduous schedule, a slate that has yielded silver in the 400 freestyle and bronze in the 400 individual medley, Hoff appeared tired. As for Ziegler, it was her second surprise miss of a final, going with the 400 freestyle.

Qualifying in the third spot for the final was Denmark's Lotte Friis, thanks to a career-best showing of 8:21.74. Italian Alessia Filippi, who registered a swim of 8:21.95, was fourth into the final and fifth went to Australian Kylie Palmer (8:22.81). Rounding out the field for the final were Russian Elena Sokolova (8:23.07), China's Li Xuanxu (8:24.37) and Great Britain's Cassandra Patten (8:25.91).