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Page last updated at 22:41 GMT, Saturday, 12 March 2011

David Davies returns to form with 'emotional' win

British Gas Swimming Championships
Dates: 5-12 March Venue: Manchester Aquatics Centre
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC 5 live sports extra; daily video highlights on the BBC Sport website


Davies and Adlington claim gold in Manchester

David Davies celebrated his return to form with victory in the 1500m freestyle at the British Championships.

Davies, who was forced to withdraw from the same event last year with physical exhaustion, qualified for the World Championships in a time of 15:06.44.

Fran Halsall collected her second gold of the week with victory in the 50m freestyle, completing an encouraging return from a serious ankle injury.

Liam Tancock also won a second gold after dominating in the 50m backstroke.

But the win for Davies, an Olympic silver medallist, was particularly sweet given his inconsistent form of late.

In July he returned to Dave Haller, the coach at Cardiff who guided him from childhood until his switch to Kevin Renshaw at Loughborough in 2007.

Welshman Davies was chased hard by Daniel Fogg in what was one of the closest races of the championships. Davies was forced to put in an extra effort with 150m to go to put some clear water between his friend and rival, but both men finished within the qualifying standard.

"The time is nowhere near my best time but it is the circumstances of everything I went through," said an emotional Davies moments after victory. "Nobody really knew how bad I was.

"For Dave Haller it was like somebody knocked on his door and left a bag of rubbish there and said 'deal with this'. I was that bad last year.

"But I never doubted I could get back and Dave never did either. There were some dark days and it's only in the last couple of weeks I've came into a bit of form. It's a fantastic feeling to win a race and to finish the whole way being strong rather than dying halfway through like I have done in the past.

"I've always seemed to be the bridesmaid and I want to start winning the close races," added Davies.

Halsall, still in rehabilitation following ankle surgery in December, eased to her second gold of the week in a time of 25.08 ahead of Amy Smith in second.

"It's good to get in the 25's - so it's game on for the summer," Halsall told BBC Five live Sport Extra. "When I was injured I could only think about winning again. I thought the surgery would hinder me but it hasn't and I just hope I can go faster."

Roberto Pavoni enjoyed an impressive victory in the men's 400m medley, recording a personal best of 4.13.37.

There were also wins for Kathryn Johnstone in the 50m breaststroke and Hannah Miley in the 400m medley, as well as Liam Tancock, who destroyed the field in 24.95 seconds, to win by nearly a second.

"I am absolutely thrilled to bits with that," said Tancock. "I qualified earlier in the week for the World Championships . To go under 25 seconds is great for me. Everything went to plan for me in that race.

"In Shanghai I will obviously go out there and try to retain my title. The World Championships is really important for me and will be a good step to the Olympics."

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see also
Davies makes return home to Wales
02 Aug 10 |  Swimming
Davies misses 1500m with fatigue
01 Apr 10 |  Swimming
Adlington powers to third title
11 Mar 11 |  Swimming
Halsall secures gold in 100m free
10 Mar 11 |  Swimming
Gandy wins 200m British fly crown
09 Mar 11 |  Swimming
Second British gold for Adlington
08 Mar 11 |  Swimming
Spofforth battles back to victory
08 Mar 11 |  Swimming
Halsall earns comeback fly silver
07 Mar 11 |  Swimming
Adlington swims to British gold
05 Mar 11 |  Swimming
Gandy takes butterfly bronze
18 Jan 11 |  Commonwealth Games
Gandy grabs 200m butterfly bronze
15 Aug 10 |  Swimming
Swimming & Diving on the BBC
29 Jun 11 |  Swimming
Swimming calendar
17 Oct 00 |  Swimming

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