Davies finishes sixth with Welsh record

1st August 2013

Georgia Davies equalled her Welsh record to finish sixth in the 50m Backstroke on the fifth day of swimming at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona.

The British Gas ITC Swansea swimmer had qualified eighth fastest for the final but ducked under the 28 second barrier for only the third time in her career to improve her ranking on 27.96.

China’s Zhao Jing ultimately took gold in 27.29 while 18-year-old Stockport Metro swimmer Lauren Quigley – competing at her first World Championships– was eighth in 28.33.

Having missed out on the 100m Backstroke semi-finals earlier in the meet, Davies admitted she was determined to make amends on the 50m and improve on her 10th place finish from two years ago.

“I’m pleased because I started out terribly in the 100 and I was so disappointed,” said Davies, who won the British title in 27.97 in June.

“That seems to always be the way with me – I tend to start out with a disappointment and that spurs me on to build up and improve throughout the week.

“I’ve got quicker each round but I would have liked to get a PB and possibly sneak that British record as well but that’s a goal for the future.

“Before the trials, I’d not done under 28 seconds since 2011 so to be able to do that twice within the space of a month is pleasing and it shows I’m progressing well.”

Quigley has risen to the challenge at her first World Championships, finishing 12th in the 100m Back before her debut final tonight.

And while she conceded she was delighted to make a final at the first attempt, she insisted she would not be complacent about her performance on the night.

“I’m happy to make the final and get this far at my first Worlds,” said Quigley.

“But I’m obviously not happy with the time. I went 28.0 in the semi but I did the same race prep as I always do and obviously today just wasn’t a good day for me.

“But I’m looking forward to getting back in tomorrow and hopefully doing a quick time in the 200m Back.”

There was more British success in the semi-finals as Andrew Willis, Michael Jamieson and Craig McNally all progressed to finals.

Swimming in the first 200m Breaststroke semi, British Gas ITC Bath teammates Willis and Jamieson touched first and third to qualify in third and fifth overall respectively.

Having won his morning heat, Willis took the touch again in 2:09.11, securing his final spot for the second consecutive World Championships, having finished eighth on his debut in 2011.

“That felt good - it was nice and controlled,” said Willis, who also finished eighth at London 2012 last year.

“I’m finding it quite easy to go out at the moment so I kept it nice and long in that second 100 and tried to build it a little bit. It will be interesting to see my stroke rates and splits.

“I’ve done what I need to do to make the final tomorrow night and it’s anyone’s game.

“I’ll need to improve on that time tonight but I’m feeling fairly confident.”

After coming through the heats 14th fastest in 2:11.47, Olympic silver medallist Jamieson upped his game in the semis to clock 2:09.62 from lane one.

And the 24-year old – who finished fifth in Shanghai two years ago – was adamant he’d need to slice more time off if he was going to land his first medal at a Worlds.

“I’ll need to find a little bit more for tomorrow though because 2:09 isn’t going to cut it for the medals,” said Jamieson.

“Heat swims are always touch and go but I felt a lot better tonight and I want to be able to step it up again tomorrow.

"I’m experienced enough now not to worry about things like a bad heat. As soon as I was finished this morning, that was it.

“I didn’t give myself a good lane draw for tonight but it forces you to stick to your own game plan if you’re in an outside lane so it was fine.”

Warrender swimmer McNally impressed to break 1:57 minutes for the second time in his career and qualify seventh fastest for the 200m Backstroke final on his World Championship debut.

After winning his morning heat, the 20-year-old took the semis in his stride, swimming a controlled race to come from sixth to third in the final 50m and touching in 1:56.97.

“That’s what I came here hoping to be able to do,” said McNally, who won the British title in a Scottish record 1:56.36 in June.

“Obviously anything can happen in the semi-finals so I was just hoping I could get my hand on the wall at the end there and make the final.

“I definitely think a drop can happen tomorrow. I’ll go back and analyse my swim, talk it over with my coach and see what there is in my race I can improve on.

“You have to be confident if you want to go through so I have been and I’ve put everything into it.”

British Gas ITC Bath swimmer Chris Walker-Hebborn was 13th overall after clocking 1:58.16 in his semi.

Hannah Miley (Garioch) and Amy Smith (Loughborough Sprint Squad) were the only other Brits in action on the fifth day, swimming in the morning heats only.

Competing her first event of the meet, Miley – who will defend her 400m Individual Medley silver on the final day in Barcelona – clocked the second fastest 200m Breaststroke swim of her career to finish 17th.

The Scot was just 0.02 seconds shy of the 16th and final qualification spot as she finished 17th in 2:28.15.

Smith also set a season’s best, finishing 21st overall in the 100m Freestyle after setting 55.40 in her heat.