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Loughborough University

Beijing Olympics 2008

News from Beijing

6 April 2008

Loughborough swimming eleven are Beijing-bound

Loughborough University’s largest ever contingent of swimmers will represent Great Britain at the Olympics following a series of outstanding performances at the British Trials in Sheffield this week.

Nine University athletes plus two Loughborough-based swimmers have made the grade to improve on Loughborough’s eight representatives at the Athens Games four years ago.

The British Olympic Association confirmed selection today after an impressive week for Loughborough that has seen its athletes set new World, Commonwealth, European, British and University records.

Dean Milwain set a University Record on his way to winning silver in the 400m Freestyle to secure his spot at his first ever Olympics.

"I am very excited about making it onto Team GB, it is a dream come true,” he said. “When I was younger and started winning regional events all my friends asked if I was going to go to the Olympics and I always hoped that I would get onto the squad so to have made it is amazing.

“It still doesn't seem real that I will be going to my first Olympic Games but I think it will hit me when I see my family and friends."

Melanie Marshall become Loughborough’s last athlete to add her name to the list this morning, to leave Loughborough’s Beijing-bound swimmers as follows:

Marshall finally secured her spot in Beijing as team mate McClatchey added the individual 200m Freestyle to her Olympic programme.

Marshall, who missed out on the 100m Freestyle final earlier this week after failing to make it to the call room on time, finished top four over 200m this morning to book her place on the 4x200m Freestyle team.

In a fast race where the first four swimmers touched within 1:59, Marshall improved on her time in the heats to touch just outside the medals in 1:58.86.

“I’ve had an upsetting week to be honest,” she admitted. “But the girls are all swimming so well and you can see how together we are. It’s really good for the team and I’m proud to be a part of it one more time.”

McClatchey, who led for the majority, was pipped to the post by new British Record holder Rebecca Adlington and had to settle for silver in 1:58.22. The 22-year-old Loughborough student set a lifetime best in last night’s heats to lower the British record to 1:57.09, a time that was quickly eclipsed by Adlington who lowered that time to 1:56.66 in the following race.

“I didn’t feel great this morning but I came here and gave it my all,” said McClatchey. “It was hard but I really wanted to swim this individually at the Olympics. Performances here are fantastic for the relay; we just keep going from strength to strength. Hopefully we’ll be able to show what we’re made of in Beijing.”

In the same event Julia Beckett finished sixth in 2:00.42 and team mate Sophie Casson set a lifetime best in the heats of 2:02.17.

Just two days ago University swimmer Daniel Fogg swam a 31-second personal best in the 1500m Freestyle heats (15:11.70) for a new University Record, but with Loughborough training partner David Davies already qualified for Beijing he had to finish first in the finals for a spot on the team.

Fogg was up against fastest qualifier Richard Charlesworth and in a thrilling race this morning the pair were neck and neck. Charlesworth edged the lead over the final 100m and despite a valiant effort from Fogg, who made a comeback at the last, the 20-year-old couldn’t improve on second and clocked home in 15:12.85. His time puts him in contention for the Tri Nations Meet in Canada this summer.

“It was a massive PB again in the final, but I just didn’t have it on the day to beat Charlsey [Richard Charlesworth],” he said. “I’m going to go to Seville for the 5k and then the Canada Tri-Nations meet in August is the next big focus for me.”

And in his last chance to qualify for the Games, Loughborough’s Joe Roebuck was an agonising 0.26 seconds off realising his dream. The Butterfly specialist, who achieved a qualification time in the 400m Individual Medley on Thursday but finished third in Friday’s final, finished top two in the 200m Butterfly today but was just outside the qualification time in yesterday’s heats (Roebuck finished 1:57.93 but needed 1:57.67) to put him out of contention. His performance yesterday, however, is a lifetime best and a new University Record.

In the 200m Butterfly heats team mate Edward Downes also swam a lifetime best to finish 10th fastest in 2:02.65.

Loughborough’s swimmers have enjoyed a quality week of racing, with the traditional highs and lows of an Olympic qualification meet. Loughborough University Director of Swimming Ian Armiger reflects on the team’s achievements.

“An Olympic Trials is always a roller coaster of emotion,” he explained. “You want every single person to do the time and make the team even if that isn’t always realistic. There are highs and lows; it’s hard when swimmers miss out by narrow margins, but we’ve posted so many lifetime bests here in Sheffield it’s been a great meet.

“We’ve got the most swimmers ever onto the team and the lifetime best strike rate has been awesome. We’ve broken University, British, European, Commonwealth records and the World Record for Tancock, which is truly outstanding.

“The team support has been brilliant and it all came together this week for the Trials in what was a showcase of Loughborough swimming. We’ve really made our mark here.

“We’d like to thank St James’s Place for their support which has enabled us to bring a large team for the whole week. We’ve had 40 swimmers at Trials so their support goes to help not only the big hitters like Tancock, but also a large number of swimmers that made the grade to attend.”

Loughborough’s swimmers now head to the FINA World Championships (25m) in Manchester, which kick off on Wednesday (9 April).

Loughborough University - Beijing 2008

Beijing facts

There are 55 Loughborough athletes in action at the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Did you know?

Former Olympic Champion Sebastian Coe is a Loughborough graduate.

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