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Ones to watch in Delhi: Rebecca Adlington

Adlington risks marathon Games schedule

By Peter Scrivener

As the reigning 400m and 800m freestyle Olympic champion England's Rebecca Adlington goes into the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi as favourite to do the double - although she is going for four gold medals.

The 21-year-old missed out on qualification for the 2006 Games in Melbourne and feels she has a point to prove in India.

She is the newly crowned European 400m champion and fastest swimmer over 800m in 2010 and a double in those events in Delhi would not only be a great finish to the season, but also a timely warning to those looking to 2012 Olympic Games.

However, not satisfied with going for two golds, Adlington will also go for a third gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay team and a fourth in the 200m freestyle, although she admits she is unsure how the punishing schedule will affect her performances.

FACTS & STATS

Born: 17 February 1989, Mansfield
Trains: Nova Centurion
Career highlights: Olympic 400m freestyle gold and 800m freestyle gold in new world record (2008), European 400m freestyle gold (2010)
Personal best: 400m freestyle 4:00.79; 800m freestyle 8:14.10 (WR)

PATH TO THE PODIUM

2010 form: Won the 400m freestyle at the European Championships in August. Adlington is also the fastest woman in the world this year over 800m, although she was was a disappointing seventh at the Europeans in Budapest.

Rivals: Australia may look to the likes of Bronte Barratt while Scotland's Caitlin McClatchey is looking to repeat her 400m freestyle victory in Melbourne four years ago. England team-mate Jo Jackson briefly held the world record over the distance in 2009. In the 800m Australia's Katie Goldman and Ireland's Grainne Murphy could be in contention.

How she could win: Pre-race nerves should not be an issue after winning the Olympic double two years ago and she has already proved herself this year with the European 400m freestyle victory and by setting the quickest time in the world over 800m. Not usually a quick starter, so expect a late charge if not out front by halfway.

Adlington wins 400m freestyle gold

What she says: "It's a rare thing, being able to represent your country and I still get excited making it on to any team. And, of course, it's always good to get a chance to beat the Aussies."

What they say: Coach Bill Furniss: "In 30 years of coaching swimmers, I've never come across anyone who applies herself as religiously as Rebecca and I've never come across anyone who can hurt herself as much. She's got the ability to push herself to the absolute limit, and do it again and again and again."

Sporting high: Winning those two gold medals in the Water Cube at the Beijing Olympics. Adlington maintains winning the 800m gold was the more special because she smashed a world record that had been set when she was six months old.

Sporting low: Failing to qualify for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. A mild bout of glandular fever and post-viral fatigue did not help her preparations for the Games trials and the then 16-year-old missed out on a place on the team.

In action: The six-day swimming programme starts on Monday, 4 October. The 200m freestyle heats are in the morning on Monday, 4 October (from 0400 BST) with the final at 1130 (BST) The 800m freestyle heats are in the morning session on Wednesday, 6 October, with the final at 1305 (BST) on Thursday, 7 October. The 4x200m freestyle heats are in the morning on Wednesday, 6 October, with the final in the evening session. The heats for the 400m freestyle are in the morning session on Friday, 8 October, with the final at 1240 (BST).

AWAY FROM SWIMMING

Life before sport: Not really much time for that. "My earliest memory," she said, "is mum blowing up my armbands and telling me to wait. But I ignored her and jumped straight in! I shouldn't have done it but I couldn't wait to get in the water." She learnt to swim at the age of four, following in the footsteps of her two elder sisters, and began her competitive swimming for Sherwood Colliery in Mansfield.

606: DEBATE
BBC Sport's Peter Scrivener

Hero worship: Olympic track cycling champion Chris Hoy - "not only for what he has achieved, but his work ethic and the way he conducts himself". Coach Bill Furniss has been the biggest influence though.

Most likely to: Head to her parent's house for Sunday lunch, apparently her mum's Yorkshire puddings are "immense".

Least likely to: Be found in the pub in her home town of Mansfield that was reported to have renamed itself the Adlington Arms after her performances in Beijing. "They didn't really rename it, you know; they just hung a banner outside with my name on it and then took it down a few weeks later," she said. "Actually, I never even went there."

Did you know? Rebecca's great uncle is former Derby goalkeeper Terry Adlington. The Sherwood Baths swimming pool where she learnt to swim has been renamed the Rebecca Adlington Swimming Centre in her honour. She is an asthmatic and cannot do press ups.



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see also
Badminton's new pair for Delhi
01 Oct 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Ones to watch in Delhi: Emily Seebohm
01 Oct 10 |  Swimming
Ones to watch in Delhi: Paddy Barnes
28 Sep 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Bindra targets home success
20 Sep 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Adlington secures European gold
15 Aug 10 |  Swimming
Adlington wins 400m freestyle gold
15 Aug 10 |  Swimming
Adlington storms to second gold
16 Aug 08 |  Swimming
Adlington snatches swimming gold
11 Aug 08 |  Swimming
Swimming & Diving on the BBC
29 Jun 11 |  Swimming
Swimming calendar
17 Oct 00 |  Swimming


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