Swimming: Delhi debut excites Adlington

DOUBLE Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington insists the highs and lows of Budapest will serve her well as she builds towards what she hopes will be an appearance at the London Olympics in 2012.

Adlington had a mixed time of it at the European Championships in Hungary, finishing down in seventh – and in tears – in the 800 metres freestyle before bouncing back in spectacular fashion to claim gold in the 400m.

The Mansfield swimmer, 21, won gold in both events at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 to raise British hopes of a repeat performance in London and she believes if she can manage the mental pressure she puts on herself, the home crowd will serve as a huge spur.

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Adlington said: "A home crowd would be so different. In Budapest, for the Hungarian swimmers, the crowd was mental. It was an insane atmosphere with everyone cheering their names and really going for it when they raced.

"That's going to be us in London – it's going to be a massive thing and it makes such a difference. You swim so well when it's a home crowd.

"It gets you going and gets you fired up and that's a massive advantage. From the Europeans I learned to relax and let things go, to concentrate on myself and not worry about other people."

Adlington revealed the turnaround between races came with the realisation that her rivals from mainland Europe were the ones most under pressure in Budapest, with the championships being the focal point of their season.

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For Adlington, the culmination of her work in 2010 is the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, which meant her preparations were at a different stage to some of her main competitors and that helped alleviate some of the pressure.

"I was massively disappointed with the 800, I got a bit too nervous and let everything get to me," she said.

"I wasn't fully rested for the Europeans because my main competition this year is the Commonwealths so it's quite different going into a race knowing everyone else is fully rested.

"From a competition side I've never been to a Commonwealth Games before where it's England, Scotland, Wales. We could have six or seven British people in the final and that would give us a lot of confidence going into London."