Double Olympic gold winner Rebecca Adlington has stormed to victory in the Women’s 200m Freestyle final at the British Championships.
Adlington, one of Team GB’s stars of Beijing, clocked 1:57.87 at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge to take the first gold of the competition ahead of Jazmin Carlin and Jo Jackson.
Fellow Olympian Jackson, 23, was left breathless by a blistering final 100m from her friend and rival Adlington.
Asthma sufferer Jackson struggled to catch her breath after finishing third in 1:58.93 behind rising star Jaz Carlin.
Carlin, 19, built on wins against Adlington and Jackson over 400m and 200m respectively in Swansea last month with a second place time of 1:58.51.
The contest looked wide open at the halfway stage, with Francesca Halsall holding a slender lead after the first two turns.
Hannah Miley and City of Sheffield’s Rebecca Turner also threatened to claim a medal, but the class of Adlington, Carlin, and to a lesser extent, Jackson, eventually told.
Adlington said she sympathised with Jackson afterwards, but added: “When you get in the pool you just go for it and I’m really, really pleased with that.”
Adlington and Carlin will now be relishing the European Championships in Hungary this summer before the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in October.
But for Jackson, a silver medallist over 400m at last year’s World Championships, a more uncertain season lies ahead.
She was a shadow of her best after a miserable winter suffering with asthma.
Jackson narrowly beat 20 year-old Miley to bronze. However, the versatile Scot put her near miss behind her to win 200m Individual Medley gold around half an hour later.
The Championships resume in the morning, while Adlington, Carlin and Jackson are back in the pool on Wednesday for the 800m Freestyle heats.