SWINDON Tigersharks’ star Jazz Carlin caused big ripples in swimming as she set the fastest time of any woman in the world this year on her way to winning the British 800m freestyle title in Glasgow last night.
The 23-year-old finished in 8:18.36, setting a new personal best and Welsh record. The time is still short of Rebecca Adlington’s British record at 8:14.10 but Carlin will surely be testing that at the Commonwealth Games staged in the same pool and just 12 weeks away.
Carlin was the clear favourite for the title she won last year and more than proved her credentials in the race itself. The Swindon swimmer led from the first turn to the last and finished a full 20m metres and 14.63 seconds ahead of second-placed Eleanor Faulkner.
Speaking after the race The Adver’s Sport Personality of the Year seemed to be as shocked as anyone else with performance and time.
“Well in warm-up, I was rubbish, I was panicking but as soon as I dove in, it felt right - buzzing to come away with that time,” said Carlin, she added: “It's great to come here, race the best of British, and go again for Commonwealths. I got a silver and bronze in Delhi. Aiming to be top in Glasgow.
“It's the first meet I've come into where I've been selected beforehand and it was great to race today in this pool.”
Carlin’s previous best had been 8:18.58 set at at the British Championships last year and she holds the Welsh short-course record as well.
Swindon’s Tilly Gray also tasted success later in the evening. The Bath University-based swimmer won a silver medal in the 200m butterfly.
Gray, a former Swindon Dolphin, was looking to improve on her last place in the 100m butterfly on Friday, and turned for the last 50m with leader Aimee Wilcott in her sights but was not able to reel her in and finished just under three seconds behind.
Gray has already qualified for the England in the Commonwealth Games in the 200m butterfly, a feat she achieved when winning at the US Open in August last year.
Earlier in the day both James Grantand Clark and Grant Turner failed to qualify for the finals of the 50m freestyle, clocking 23.57 and 23.96 respectively to finish outside the mark for a place in the top eight.
This morning Carlin swims again, this time in the 400m freestyle qualifiers, an event she won last year, going in the same heat is Swindon-born Hannah Miley. If succesful both will compete in the Championships’ final session starting at 6pm this evening.