downpour dampens medal hopes

It was a washout for Britain in more ways than one on the second night of finals in Budapest as a torrential downpour caused the session to be abandoned before the events had been completed with the home team still to post an entry on the medal table. Fourth places were the order of the day as Liam Tancock and Chris Cook just missed out on podium places.
In the backstroke it was so close for Loughborough’s Tancock as he was pipped to the bronze by just 0.17s having occupied second for much of the race. His training break due to a broken wrist caught up with him in the closing 25m though, as did team-mate Matt Clay, almost, coming home 5th in a new personal best of 54.52, just 0.01s behind the commonwealth champion. Russia’s Arkady Vyatchanin took the title in a swift 53.50 to move him to third on the all time list. The speed shown by the two Brits will serve them well, however, for the 50m event in which they took the top two spots in Melbourne.
Cook’s final saw the Newcastle man finishing strongly but not quite making it to the podium as he too touched fourth, 0.35 behind bronze medal winner and defending champion Ole Lisogor. The top two spots were separated by just two one-hundredths of a second as Roman Sludnov touched out Norway’s Alexander Dale Oen in 1:00.61. There was greater disappointment for James Gibson though, as following his return to form in the semi final, he failed to reproduce that and trailed home in eight place in 1:00.46.
In the evening’s semi finals there was again satisfaction for Britain as five swimmers progressed to tomorrow’s finals. Most impressive were the ladies breaststroke duo of Kirsty Balfour and Kate Haywood. Balfour progressed as the fastest qualifier in 1:08.05, just outside her heat swim of 1:07.95, to start as a slight favourite, while Haywood was third fastest. There was a personal best for Fran Halsall as she dipped under 55seconds for the first time with a 54.99 effort that saw her into the final in seventh place.
Amongst the men, Gregor Tait, the commonwealth champion just managed to fit his semi final of the 200IM in before the heavens opened as he qualified third fastest in 2:01.09, while team-mate Joe Roebuck made his first international final in 8th spot.
The Men’s 200m semi finals, featuring Simon Burnett and David Carry after Ross Davenport fell prey to the two per nation rule, will take place at the conclusion of the morning heats, while the 200m backstroke final with Mel Marshall and Lizzie Simmonds, has been postponed until tomorrow evening.