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British Olympic Trials - Day 2

Jul 27, 2000  - Anita Lonsbrough

There were highs and lows on day two of the Olympic Trials in Sheffield yesterday. Highs as three British records were established. The lows when winning as not enough to achieve the tough qualifying target times set.

Darren Mew the twenty year old Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, produced his second personal best to win the 100m breaststroke. In the semis he recorded 1min 02.10sec.

His early pace saw him turn in 28.73sec inside Nick Gillingham's British and Commonwealth record half way split. He tired slightly over the second 50m to finish in 1min 01;78 the sixth fastest in the world this year.

Three British marks did fall with one of the oldest on the books finally being erased. After sitting on the shelf for thirteen years Heidi Earp at long last wrote a new name into the 100m breaststroke. The nineteen year old from Newcastle-under-Lyme moved to the Nottingham based Nova Centurion club last year after finishing her A level studies. Always a promising swimmer she has now become consistent and has the confidence to live up to her potential.

During the winter short course season she showed signs of being able to lower the mark and yesterday she fulfilled that promise. Her time of 1mion 08.92sec was 0.47sec inside Brownsdon's mark. The teenager said afterwards "I knew I could do it" Adding "I was dying but remembered to keep my stroke in the final few metres". But she has it all to do again in the final.

Simon Militis won a record and an Olympic place in the 400m medley. The twenty two-year-old from Jersey now training in Portsmouth, moved into the pole position with his strong backstroke. From then on it was Militis against the record and qualifying time. He managed to keep up the pressure coming home in 4min 20.07sec to book his Sydney place.

His time was also one tenth inside James Hickman's two year old figures. But Militis was not satisfied "I had 4min19 as a target. I felt I could do that." Adding "It was a realistic target for me".

Completing the hat trick of records was Sarah Price the twenty one year old. In the first of the semi-finals she sped to a 1min 01.93sec to lower the mark set last year by Katy Sexton. Sexton the Commonwealth champion for the 200m distance, tried to recapture the record in the second semi. She came within a whisker when touching home in 1min 01.96sec. To set up an intriguing final.

The closest race of the day came in the 100m butterfly but Sue Rolph's British mark stays on the shelf. The top four swimmers qualified within three tenths of each other. The sprinters Nicola Jackson and Caroline Foot set the pace down the first 50m. They knew that the 200m specialists Margaretha Pedder and Georgina Lee would charge down on the second half.

But their lead was not enough for Pedder snatched victory in 1min 00.74sec a quarter of a second ahead of Lee. While Lee's time a personal best was just outside the qualifying time. Pedder admitted, " I knew it was going to be really tight. I just put my head down and hoped it was me".

Sprint specialist Alison Sheppard and Mark Foster were just too speedy for their rivals. Sheppard who broke her British and Commonwealth records in the heats and semi-final was disappointed not to do it for a third time. Their respective time of 25.12 and 22.42 were too hot for the opposition.