GB swimmers play down hopes in European Championships
European Swimming Championships 2010 Venue: Budapest Dates: 4-15 August Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website (UK users only); listen on BBC 5 live sports extra, updates on BBC Radio 5 live
Adlington 'stronger' for European Champs
Great Britain's top swimmers enter the European Championships on Monday warning they may not be at their best with the Commonwealth Games in mind.
The likes of double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington and world champions Liam Tancock and Gemma Spofforth are among those competing in Budapest.
"The main focus this year is the Commonwealth Games so the Europeans are going to be tough," said Adlington, 21.
"There are so many great swimmers in my events who will be fully rested."
Synchronised swimming and the open water events launched the 12-day meeting.
Olympic silver medallist David Davies led for the first 8km of the 10km open water race on his return to competition before fading in the closing stages.
I will be using my new dives during the competition and I will be excited to see how they go
GB's Tom Daley
The Welshman finished 30th, with fellow Britons Daniel Fogg and Richard Charlesworth coming home 11th and 27th respectively.
Another Beijing medallist, Cassie Patten, finished 17th in the women's 10km event behind winner Linsy Heister of the Netherlands.
Medals were not anticipated from the 12-strong synchronised swimming team, but Jenna Randall and Olivia Allison came an impressive fifth in the duet competition, while Britain secured sixth place in the final of the team event - where the free routine sees eight athletes swimming at the same time - on Saturday.
After the remaining synchro and open water events on Sunday, the swimming and diving - where world and European champion Tom Daley will be targeting gold - start on Monday.
Daley will be unveiling new dives for the first time on his return from injury.
"I haven't had the best preparations for this competition because of my injury but I am excited to be competing at a European Championships again," said the 16-year-old.
"This will be my first major competition of the year and I am looking forward to getting onto the boards. I will be using my new dives during the competition and I will be excited to see how they go."
The 11-strong British diving team also includes 13-year-old Alicia Blagg and 14-year-old Grace Reid, who are both making their European debuts.
In the pool, the 35 swimmers have arrived untapered and unrested with the European Championships - the main event of the year for most of their rivals - coming during the build-up to October's Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
"There are so many great swimmers in my events who will be fully rested," added 21-year-old Adlington.
Not being able to breathe and stuff - it is such a horrible feeling
"I won't really taper down my training to prepare, I will probably cut back the week before and just do lighter work as my full taper will be ahead of the Commonwealth Games."
Adlington's fellow freestyle specialist Jo Jackson, the Olympic 400m bronze medallist, admits she has no idea what to expect after a traumatic year beset by illness.
The 23-year-old has had a gruelling time since setting two world records in 2009 and winning two silver medals and a bronze at last summer's World Championships in Rome.
Jackson contracted bronchitis and with a chest infection exacerbating her asthma, the effort needed to breathe properly caused her ribs to pop out during training.
The Richmond swimmer was either unable to train at all or endure at most six sessions a week during the winter compared to her usual 10 in the pool and three in the gym.
She still competed at the Commonwealth and European trials in Sheffield in March, managing third in the 200m free, but was left struggling to breathe.
Despite her problems, Jackson was selected for the Europeans and will contest the 200m and 400m freestyle - where she be up against Adlington and double world champion Federica Pellegrini - as well as the 4x100m and 4x200m relays.
"I've had a few good weeks of good training but to me the Commonwealths is the main aim for this year," Jackson said.
"So I am going in just wanting to race as well as I can, do the best times and hopefully improve on what I've done and not have any [health] issues while I'm there.
"Not being able to breathe and stuff - it is such a horrible feeling, it's not something you want.
"I just thought if it carried on I couldn't keep getting in there and racing like that, putting myself under that much pressure and making myself ill."
As well as Adlington, Tancock and Spofforth, world silver medallist Fran Halsall and in-form backstroker Lizzie Simmonds should also be in the mix for medals.
But James Goddard, ranked number one this year in the 200m individual medley, pulled out on Friday with a virus.
The event will also see the Great Britain debut of 16-year-old Achieng Ajulu-Bushell, born in Warrington but who represented Kenya at last year's World Championships before switching her allegiance to her native country.
Ajulu-Bushell is ranked second and third-fastest in Europe in the 50m and 100m breaststroke, the two events she won at the British trials in Sheffield in March.
"I think there is a bit of pressure on me to make my mark and perform at my first international for Britain but I am excited," said Ajulu-Bushell, who will become the first black woman to swim for GB.
"This is going to be an experience so hopefully it will be really fun."
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