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British Olympic Trials - Day 1

Jul 26, 2000  - Anita Lonsbrough

Alison Sheppard one of three British swimmers pre-selected in 1999 twice lowered her British and Commonwealth records. The first came in the morning heats of the 50m freestyle with a swim of 25.16sec. This shaved 0.15sec off the figures she set at last year's European Championships in Istanbul

In her semi-final she captured her second record with a time 25;12sec the fifth fastest time in the world this year. This year she has added a new weight training programme to her schedule, which she feels "has made the difference. I am much stronger." She also explained "I knew if I wanted to be up with the best in the world I had to do something and this is working".

Jamie Salter became the first swimmer to achieve an Olympic qualifying time at the trials in Sheffield yesterday, but had to play best man to the maestro Paul Palmer the 1996 Olympic silver medallist, in the 400m freestyle.

Palmer who gained pre-selection last year, was nonchalant over the first half of the race allowing the others to stay with him. But coming out of the turn at the end of the fifth length he injected some pace and with in 50m had opened up a gap of one and a half seconds. From then on he was out on his own ploughing his lonely furrow.

He admitted to working "very hard over the final 50m and while my legs hurt I don't feel as if it's taken too much out of me". He added "It proves what I'm doing in training is right." He also admitted, "I'm glad I was pre-selected. I wouldn't have liked to have to have tapered for the trials just seven weeks out from the games".

Although twenty four year old Salter could not match Palmer's pace over the last 150m he did have the finishing speed to out sprint Graeme Smith the Olympic 1500m bronze medallist. Salter's time of 3min 53.09sec was just outside his best but good enough to dip under the Olympic qualifying time.

Rachael Corner of Wigan, could be considered the unluckiest person in the pool. The nineteen year old won the 400m medley but her time of 4min 49.15sec was just over one second outside the Olympic qualifying time. Corner led from the backstroke leg and looked to have the target time within her sights until the final freestyle leg. Out on her own she found it difficult to keep up the pace and the time slipped away from her.

The Director of Performance Deryk Snelling has laid down the qualifying times. Snelling's contract expires after the Olympic Games. The