mew and gibson offer hope

In what was overall a slightly flat start for the British squad in Athens, 100m breaststroke contenders Darren Mew and James Gibson offered a ray of hope for the team as they booked their places in tomorrow night’s final.
Despite their successful progression however, both were well off the speed they showed at the trials in April. Mew was the quicker of the two, recording 1:00.81 in the semi final, but that was still well down on his best time this year. Gibson too was down on his best and both will need to at the top of their game to challenge for the medals. The main contenders will be, unsurprisingly, Brendan Hansen and Kosuke Kitajima, who were both hugely impressive in qualifying first and second.
Britain’s other final appearance of the first night came courtesy of the women’s 4x100m freestyle team of Melanie Marshall, Kathryn Evans, Karen Pickering and Lisa Chapman. The highlight of their effort was Evans’ 54.3 split in her last international appearance, as the team came home sixth, just outside the British record mark.
Elsewhere it was a case of missed opportunities for the other swimmers to take to the pool. Adrian Turner’s 400IM British record from the trials would have been enough for a finals place, but he was well off the pace, while Robin Francis, although closer to his PB, would have needed to improve on his best time to progress to the final. Of the other competitors, Adam Faulkner was always likely to struggle to make the 400m free final, but faded towards the end of his heat swim , as did Graeme Smith, while Georgina Lee’s British record would have seen her safely into the semi finals. Unfortunately she was a second outside that mark after her heat. All but Faulkner will get another opportunity this week however and will hopefully have calmed their nerves after getting their first swims out of the way.