Swimming: Faulkner makes case for World team selection

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Sheffield’s Ellie Faulkner kicked off a busy week in style with a personal best in the 800m freestyle at the British Gas Swimming Championships tonight.

Faulkner finished second in the final to Jaz Carlin in a time of 8:25.36 minutes, almost two seconds quicker than her PB. It puts her comfortably inside the qualification standard for the World Championships in Barcelona in July.

But with only 35 people making the squad that does not guarantee a place in the British team. And with the 200m, the 400m and the 1500m still to come this week at Ponds Forge, the 20-year-old is itching to prove her worth ahead of selection.

“It was a PB and I was going out there to hopefully get their World Championship qualification time and hopefully that has put me in with a spot for the team but we will see what happens,” said Faulkner.

“I was comfortable throughout the race and thought to myself I have absolutely nothing to lose and I could go out there and do what I can. If I get picked it would be amazing and it would be my first World Championship. It would be another step along the way.

“With London 2012 over and done with I have never been to a Worlds or Commonwealth Games so that would be amazing and I can’t wait to see.

Elsewhere there were bronze medals for Sheffield swimmers Matthew Johnson and Tom Sunter. Johnson produced a PB in the 200m butterfly with a time of 1:57.92 and Sunter knocked 4.5 seconds off his PB in the 800m freestyle with 8:03.01.

However there was agony for Rotherham’s Joe Roebuck who was one hundredth of a second outside the World Championship qualification time in the 200m butterfly as he won in 1:56.49.

He posted on Twitter: “Disappointing time tonight couldn’t have been closer the QT! Looking forward to the 2IM and fast swimming tomorrow!”

* British Gas is launching SwimBritain, a programme to create a healthier nation and get 500,000 people swimming more regularly by 2015. Visit www.swimbritain.co.uk/challenge