British Olympic Trials - Day 6
Jul 31, 2000 - Anita Lonsbrough
James Hickman the World short course champion, put his disappointing performances of the past year behind him to bounce back and equal his British record on the final day of the British Olympic Trials.
After finishing runner up to Stephen Parry in the 200m butterfly in a world class time he made the 100m his own. Inches ahead at the half way stage was Aaron Wiles but this stirred Hickman into action. Using his powerful turn he lifted his pace to lead the field home to equal his best time of 52.87sec and naturally he was "not pleased with equaling the British record, if I could have gone one hundredth faster, it's finger nails you know."
Age means nothing to Karen Pickering she is getting faster as a she gets older as she proved in the 100m freestyle. The twenty eight year old was on the shoulders of the pace setter Alison Sheppard the Commonwealth 50m record holder, on the first 50m. But Sheppard's pace was too fast and she faded as they turned for home.
Pickering's experience told and she moved into the lead as the field charged for the wall. Having produced personal best times in the final of the European Championships in Helsinki a few weeks earlier another in the semi final she completed the hat trick with her winning time of 55.58sec. This placed the former Commonwealth champion 0.41 ahead of Karen Legg who had piped her the post in the 200m earlier in the week.
Another former Commonwealth champion Adam Ruckwood completed a backstroke double when he added the 200m title to the 100m won earlier in the week. Ruckwood didn't panic as first Gregor Tait and then Simon Militis winner of the 400m medley on day two of the trials, set the pace.
Ruckwood's powerful finish proved too strong for his younger rivals as he came home to win in 2min 00.51sec 0.24 ahead of Militis. Somewhat disappointed with his time he admitted "I would have liked to have broken the 2min mark but winning was what was important".
Darren Mew on a high after winning his Olympic place in the 100m breaststroke twice lowered his British record for the 50m breaststroke. First in the heats and then the semi-final where his time of 28.16sec shaved 700th off the Commonwealth figures.
Disappointed at not making the 100m backstroke team for Sydney Zoe Cray fought back to lower her British mark to 29.82 for the 50m.
The British Olympic Association insisted on harder qualifying times and promised if they were accepted then all those who were inside the qualifying times would be selected for Sydney. Forty one swimmers have been nominated by the Amateur Swimming Federation of Great Britain for Olympic selection. The British Olympic Association will announce the final selection of the team on Tuesday 1st August.