- 41 swimmers selected
- 2 Commonwealth Records
- 9 British Records
- 1 British Junior Record
A generally successful and well fought trials came to a close last week, with a string of British records and a larger than expected number of swimmers qualifying for the Olympics. Here are our highs (and low) from Ponds Forge:
Loads of contenders for this one, with close races between Katie Sexton and Sarah Price in the ladies 100m Backstroke and Darren Mew and Adam Whitehead in the men’s 100 Breaststroke all in the reckoning, but for me the best race came in the men’s 1500m where Adam Faulkner narrowly missed out on beating Paul Palmer, having stretched the Bath swimmer for the last 200m of the race. A thrilling finish and a tremendous finale to the penultimate day of the trials in an event that can so often be a procession.
With records falling all over the place, again this is a toughie, its tempting to go for Alison Sheppard’s Commonwealth records in particular, or any of the other record breakers, but for my money Heidi Earp’s record in the 100m Breaststroke, breaking one of the oldest records still in the book was the outstanding individual swim of the meet.
Again so many contenders, but there could only one winner, and I’ll agree with the swimming writer’s award and say that Paul Palmer was my swimmer of the meet – he showed again why he’s is one of our best medal hopes for Sydney and deserved his 3 titles, despite being chased all the way to the line in the 1500m.
The men’s 100m turned out to be the most disappointing race of the week with a blanket finish and no one dipping under 50s or the Olympic qualifying time of 50.09. Congratulations to Mark Stevens for winning the race, but the general standard in the event was disappointing.
Only one winner here, the race that most people had been waiting for in the 200m butterfly when James Hickman and Stephen Parry head to head. With Parry having recently broken Hickman’s British Record, it was always going to be a grudge match and well done to Stephen Parry on finally winning the title. Both of these swimmers are going to be in with a shout of a medal come September.
Many swimmers surprised me in these trials, reigning Commonwealth champion Katie Sexton missing out on selection in the 200m Backstroke (although her British Record and selection in the 100 must be some consolation) was one but the biggest surprise must be Kathryn Evans’ qualification in the women’s 200IM; Congratulations!
So a successful trials and we can all look forward with some optimism to Sydney and lets hop ewe can do better than the 3 medals won in the last two games. To sum up:
A magnificent week, outstripping all our expectations. The number of athletes who qualified for the Olympics was beyond our predictions or expectations.
Deryk Snelling, National Performance Director