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British Olympic Trials - Day 5

Jul 30, 2000  - Anita Lonsbrough

Paul Palmer the Atlanta silver medallist for the 400m, completed a hat trick of national titles when he won the 1500m freestyle on day five of the Olympic Swimming Trials in Sheffield.

Palmer beat Adam Faulkner in a thrilling finish. Atlanta bronze medallist winner and 1500m specialist Graeme Smith and Palmer shared the lead in the early stages with Faulkner lying third.

But then the plan went astray as Smith slipped back in the closing 500m as Faulkner closed down on Palmer. Eighteen year old Faulkner made his move and tried to shake off Palmer the winner of the 200 and 400 earlier in the championships.

Palmer's greater strength clinched the victory in almost the final lung for the wall winning in 15min 17.53sec a personal best time and just a slender 0.31 ahead of Faulkner who also recorded a life time best.

Both swimmers achieving the required qualification time for Sydney. Palmer said after "That was the hardest race of the week because it goes on so long".

He added " Pride came into it at the end. I made sure of qualifying by trying to win when it counts I can do it. I thought Graeme would put up more of a challenge. It's Great Britain's loss he's not going. I feel sorry for the lad."

Smith the expected representative in Sydney this was a nightmare of a result. The Anglo Scots finishing time of 15min 31.98sec which gave him third place was almost thirty seconds off his British record and slower than the Olympic qualification time.

Helen Don Duncan swept to her second British record in as many days when she won the 200m backstroke in 2min 11.25sec to lower her mark by 0.48. just 0;85sec ahead of Joanna Fargus.

Twenty one year Sarah Price turned one and a half seconds inside the schedule for a new record. Helen Don Duncan and Joanne Fargus who twice broke the record at the European Championships in Helsinki were exactly level at the half way mark. They slowly reeled Price in and as the turned for the last time their battle commenced.

Don Duncan's determination told in the end as edged ahead to book her place on the Olympic team bound for Sydney. Her time of 2min 11.25 her second British record in as many days. Sexton pulled up to third with her powerful finish but could not get on equal terms as Price slipped to fourth.

Just over half a seconds separated all eight finalists inn the 100m freestyle for men. The lead changed with virtually every arm stroke. But it was the powerfully built Mark Stevens out in lane eight, who stormed through the field to win in 50.44sec just outside the Olympic qualifying time.

In the womens 200m butterfly Georgina Lee turned the tables on Margaretha Pedder the British record holder. In the 100m Pedder was the victory. In the four length race. Lee led for the first half but her lead was never more than eleven hundredths.

Pedder who had never been beaten by Lee revered the positions on the third 50m to take a 0.37sec advantage. But Lee found something extra on the return leg to take her first national title and a place on the British Olympic team. Her time of 2min 11.36sec was a personal best and 0.23 ahead of Pedder.

After having swimmers at the top for the world rankings for two decades from the early seventies Britain will have just one competitor in the 200m distance at the games. Adam Whitehead will be that swimmer.

The early pace was set by Ian Edmond but Whitehead was the stronger over the second half and pulled away to win in 2min 12.14sec. Edmond slipped back to finish in 2min 15.62sec.