There were no great shocks on the first day of competition at the ASA Long Course Championships in Coventry, with most the expected winners coming through their respective finals. the times haven’t been earth-shattering, but with only a few weeks to go until the games start, that was only to be expected as the England team conclude their preparations.
Adam Faulkner was the clear winner in the 400 free, by almost 3 seconds form Stuart Trees who just dipped under the 4 minute barrier. In the women’s race, Rebecca Cooke unsurprisingly headed the field in a time just 1s over her best. Glasgow team mate Holly Fox followed Cooke home in second, again just over her best.
James Gibson regained his number 1 status over 50 Breastroke, with Adam Whitehead runner up. Surprisingly Chris Cook from Newcastle pipped Darren MEw for third. In the women’s final, Zoe Baker was unstoppable as the former world short course record holder comfortably out paced the rest of the filed, second placed Rachel Genner being over 1s down.
The men’s 100 fly was an almost pedestrian affair as James Hickman won another ASA title, in 54.97 over 2s slower than his British record. Fellow England team members David Bennett and Steve Parry followed Hickman home a further 1.5s adrift. The women’s race produced probably the best performance of the session and a welcome return to form for Bath’s Nicola Jackson, who outpaced British Record Holder Georgina lee to win the title in a time just 3 tenths of a second down on her lifetime best.
Sarah Price maintained her air of invincibility at this level. With no Jo Fargus to press her she recorded an impressive time for this stage of the season (2:!2.14) to win by a second from 13 year old Stephanie Proud who set yet another PB and British Junior Record of 2:13.65 in second place. Defending commonwealth champion Katy Sexton finished down in 4th. By comparison, the men’s 200 backstroke final was fairly low key, without British record holder Greor Tait, as James Goddard comfortably saw off fellow medley specialist Simon Militis for gold
In the last finals of the session, Mark Foster lived up to his own billing as the best sprinter in the country as he easily outpaced the rest of the field. Adam Ruckwood was the surprise runner up with the expected challenge from Matt Kidd failing to materialise as he finished back in 4th. The women’s race contained a minor upset as Nova’s Catrin Davis pipped GB champion Melanie Marshall to the title.