Spofforth overshadowed by Simmonds in 200m backstroke
GEMMA Spofforth insists the pressure is off ahead of tomorrow's 200m backstroke final at the World Swimming Championships in Rome.
IMPRESSIVE: Lizzie Simmonds made amends for a disappointing heats swim to break the national record in the 200m backstroke semi-finals
Spofforth - ranked fourth in the world when she arrived in the Italian capital - advanced as the fifth fastest qualifier in a 2.07.64.
And she was overshadowed by British team-mate Lizzie Simmonds, who rewrote Spofforth's national record with an impressive personal best to advance as third fastest in 2.07.21.
However, after taking gold and a world record in the 100m backstroke earlier this week, the Portsmouth Northsea swimmer just wants to have fun.
"The main thing for me is that the pressure is completely off - there is nothing else I want to do and I haven't got anything else to prove," said Spofforth.
"I came here to win the 100m and I have done that and that means I can just enjoy the 200m and see what happens."
Double Olympic gold medallist and reigning world champion Kirsty Coventry will start favourite for the final after recording a championship record 2.05.86.
"Kirsty Coventry is a really good friend of mine," added Spofforth.
"She is the world record holder in the 200m backstroke, so she will want to do well. I'm sure she still has plenty left in the tank.
"I'm confident I can still go quicker but my real aim is to enjoy myself and it's great to be in another final."
Simmonds - sixth in last year's Olympics - was delighted with her performance, especially after disappointing in the morning heats.
"I felt really ropey and I just had to blow the cobwebs away," she said.
"I was more relaxed in the semi-final, probably more than I have been during any other race and that won't change in the final.
"There will be a few nerves but I'm just going to go out and enjoy it. I have been swimming well all week.
"Hopefully I can finish higher than I did in Beijing but I'm delighted to have made two finals."
Meanwhile, Jemma Lowe admits she has yet to feel the benefits of her move to America, where she trains with the competitive University of Florida swim team alongside Spofforth.
Lowe missed out on the semi-finals of the 50m butterfly yesterday, touching home in 26.71 seconds, three hundredths shy of her personal best.
The 19-year old reached the 100m butterfly at last year's Olympics, finishing sixth, but didn't progress beyond the heats in Rome.
"I'm enjoying my new life out in Florida but I think it's a transition year, as I take time to get used to the training," said Lowe.
"I see Gemma every day and we are really good friends and we hang out a lot. It is good that we have each other for support when we are so far from home.
"I would like to think the only way is up from here. I have improved from last year, it's just not reflected in my results this week."