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27 July 2009 | PR 09/95

Jackson wins world silver in record-breaking race

Jo Jackson in Rome

Jo Jackson in Rome

Loughborough swimmer Joanne Jackson has won World Championship silver with a record-breaking performance in the 400m Freestyle in Rome.

The former world record holder set a new British record of 4:00.60 last night (Sunday 26 July) in the fastest race in history that saw winner Federica Pellegrini of Italy become the first ever woman to dip below the four-minute mark.

Jackson was joined on the podium by Britain’s Olympic champion Becky Adlington, who trains with her in Loughborough three times a week. Adlington grabbed bronze in a new personal best of 4:00.79 to be part of Britain’s first ever female duo to medal in the same race at a World Championships.

“It seemed like the whole of Italy was out there tonight cheering on Federica and it pushed us all to the finish,” said a delighted Jackson. “To see those kinds of crowds watching that type of amazing racing is what it’s all about.

“It helps when there's two of us in a race like that but Federica was in a class of her own tonight.

“I'm so proud of what Becky and I achieved tonight. For me it’s a place better than Beijing and I'm really happy with that.”

The race had the British supporters on their feet as Jackson got off to the best start and turned in the lead at the 50m mark. Pellegrini took the lead from Jackson at the 100m point and the Olympic bronze medallist remained just on her shoulder for the remainder of the race.

After 300m Pellegrini was turning inside her own world record and Jackson remained half a second behind her. Adlington was lying in third place from the 100m mark and in the final 50m she closed in on Jackson – the pair touching within two tenths of a second of each other. 

And Jackson’s wasn’t the only national record to fall on day one of the World Swimming
Championships as Loughborough’s crop helped set four new British bests.

Sprinter Fran Halsall lowered her own British 100m Freestyle record in the heats of the women’s 4x100m. Halsall again anchored the quartet that included Loughborough team mates Caitlin McClatchey and Amy Smith in the final as they lowered the British best for the second time that day, to 3:36.99 for seventh position.

Ross Davenport and Liam Tancock stepped up in the men’s 4x100m Freestyle, lowering the British record to 3:11.62 in the heats to qualify third fastest for the final. But up against the relay powerhouses of France and America, the quartet were just off the best they set in the morning and finished seventh overall with a time of 3:12.09.

Graduate James Gibson, who is now based in Marseilles but swims for Loughborough in the UK, was in the form of his life as he set a new British record in the 100m Breaststroke heats. He qualified for the semi finals in 59.68 but finished just off the pace in the next round with less than seven tenths of a second meaning the difference between qualifying fastest and missing the final altogether.

Distance specialist David Davies reached the final of the men’s 400m Freestyle in another record-breaking race that saw Ian Thorpe’s seven-year-old world record broken by winner Paul Biedermann of Germany.

An Olympic silver medallist over 10k, Davies struggled with the pace of the shorter distance and although he got off to a good start he was in eighth place at the 100m mark. Davies increased his speed through the next 50m and moved to seventh place but found the final 100m too much and finished in eighth place in a time of 3:47.02.

“I've moved my 400 free on so much this year as I've improved my speed in the pool and my aim for this event was to make the final so it’s a box ticked,” said Davies.  The time should have been quicker but my week is all about what I can achieve over 1500m.

“I was in the 400m in Manchester when Ian Thorpe set the record and to be in there tonight when it went was amazing. Suit or not, what he did and the work he put in deserves recognition for a great swim.” 

The swimming leg of the FINA World Championships take place in Rome from 26 July to 2 August. Loughborough University is represented by 15 athletes in the GB and Ireland teams.


For all media enquiries contact:

Amanda Overernd
Sport PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228686
E: A.J.Overend@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2008 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, with 22 out of 30 of its subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. It was named winner of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other institution.

It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

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