relay girls take aim at glory

There were no great dramas for Britain on the fourth morning of heats at the European Championships as those expected to progress did just that. Kirsty Balfour glided through the 200m breaststroke heats while Simon Burnett led the way in the 100m freestyle
Balfour was 5th fastest in a time 6 second outside her best and will be joined in the semis by fellow Scot Kerry Buchan who was in 7th spot. Burnett meanwhile recorded a swift heats swim of 49.24 to be just 0.02 ahead of Alain Bernard of France. Pieter van den Hoogenband was a further one one-hundredth behind.
In the women’s 100 fly Teri Dunning easily qualified with a time of 59.69 for 7th while team mate Ros Brett had to rely on the 2 per nation rule to squeeze through in 15th pace with 1:00.57. There was no such luck for Chris Alderton as he swam outside hi s personal best over 1500m and didn’t progress to a final where the fastest qualifier and favourite will be 400m champion Yuri Prilukov of Russia.
But Britain’s brightest medal hope of the evening remains the women’s 4x200m relay. A second sting squad of Jo Jackson, Rebecca Adlington, Stephanie Proud and Fran Halsall cruised through their heat and will take up lane 2 in the final, where Jackson and Halsall are likely to be joined by Mel Marshall and Caitlin McClatchey. The team start with genuine title aspirations but the Germans are slight favourites while as strong polish team will also fancy their chances along with the French quartet who will bring Laure Manadou into their line up. The British record must surely go and the longstanding European record held by the GDR must also be under threat.