Rebecca Adlington targets Olympics swimming 800m gold

Great Britain's Rebecca Adlington says she will fight to hold on to her Olympic 800m freestyle title after battling to 400m freestyle bronze on Sunday night.

The 2008 Olympic champion saw France's Camille Muffat take her crown, with American Allison Schmitt taking silver, but produced a fine swim from out in lane eight to get on to the podium.

And looking ahead to the 800m heats on Thursday and final on Friday, Adlington said: "I'm going to have to fight like hell to get a medal. I know the 800m is going to be a fight, exactly the same as the 400m.

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It's only just sunk in that I'm at the London Olympics, and I think it will be an emotional week

Rebecca Adlington 400m bronze medallist

"I know it's going to be extremely tough but I am going to try my absolute hardest, just as I did on Sunday, and hopefully the crowd can pick me up as they did then and I can pick up that performance."

Adlington paid tribute to the British supporters at the Aquatic Centre, who roared her on as she came through from sixth at halfway and then fourth at 300m to finish third.

"You can't make out what they are saying, but you can hear the buzz and the noise," she said. "It inspired me and definitely helped me - it was amazing I got to experience that.

"The crowd was brilliant, but I didn't want to look up. I didn't want to get too overwhelmed, because I had a job to do. Yes, it's an Olympics, but it's just another swim. I'm just diving in and doing what I do every single day of my life."

The 23-year-old admitted that she had been plagued by nerves before she walked out.

"You feel sick. You go from feeling like you want to faint to feeling like you want to cry to getting angry," she said.

"I was so emotional afterwards. It's only just sunk in that I'm at the London Olympics, and I think it will be an emotional week."

Adlington revealed she had been inspired by the silver won earlier in the day at the women's cycling road race by Lizzie Armitstead, the first British medal of the London Olympics.

"It was unbelievable," said Adlington. "We said, 'Yes! Girl power!' We were celebrating the fact that a girl got it.

Analysis

"Applause to Becky Adlington. She was under the pump, with so much pressure to perform and talk of her not even winning a medal. What I was so impressed with was she put herself through the most pain possible to win that medal. She is a stronger 800m swimmer and, based on that display, we can have a bit more confidence in her now for [the longer] race."

"When I was younger so many of my friends who were girls didn't want to get into sport, so it's great to see the girls doing so amazingly.

"Hopefully that will encourage the younger generation and show that women can be feminine and be involved in sport. Males have ruled the roost for a long time and it was about time we got involved.

"I hope that now we [Great Britain] have got it going today that we can keep continuing on and see more medals."

Adlington had qualified only eighth fastest for Sunday night's final and insisted she was delighted to take bronze in the weaker of her two events.

Her time of four minutes 03.01 seconds was faster, in a textile swimsuit, than the time she produced in the now-outlawed fast suit in taking gold in Beijing, although slower than her time at the British trials in the spring.

She said: "I know everyone else wanted to say, 'Oh, you got the gold in Beijing' but to me I was not expecting that at all, so I am so pleased.

"I would have liked to go a tiny bit faster and equal what I did in March, but to be honest the whole environment adds stuff. You forget that all takes a toll on you; the emotion can take it out of you a little bit."

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