OLYMPIC medallist Jo Jackson was said to be “bitterly disappointed” last night after being squeezed into fifth place in a world-class 200m freestyle final at the British Gas Championships in Manchester.
The result means Jackson from Richmond will have to wait until the second stage of qualification in June if she is to book her place at the world championships in Shanghai the following month.
Jackson, 24, looked well-placed for most of the race, turning second at 50 and 100 metres and taking the lead before the final turn.
But there was never more than fractions of a second separating the eight-girl field which included three Olympic medallists, a European and Commonwealth champion and two world championship medallists.
In the closing metres Rebecca Adlington, who won gold in the same Beijing 400m freestyle final in which Jackson won her Olympic bronze, edged ahead to win in 1min 58.90sec.
Welsh record holder Jaz Carlin took the silver in 1:59.03.
But Carlin’s time was fractionally outside the qualifying time for the second individual berth in Shanghai, leaving the door open for Jackson to make another attempt in June.
With Stockport’s Keri-Anne Payne and Sheffield’s Rebecca Turner coming third and fourth in 1:59.42 and 1:59.63, Jackson (1:59.69) also missed out on an automatic place in the 4x200m freestyle relay team.
Her coach Kevin Renshaw said: “It’s bitterly disappointing for her. She is hurting. There is a lot of emotion attached to it.
“But she is not miles away and that’s the biggest positive. There was only 0.7sec between first and fifth.
“We need to go through the same process again and rest her in June to swim at that meet and again five weeks later if she gets on to the team.
“We did that with the 800m freestyle in 2009 and she did one of the swims of her life five weeks later in the world championships in Rome.”
Jackson believes she has now put the asthma problems of the last 18 months behind her but she did miss five weeks training around Christmas due to an ankle injury.