parry throws down gauntlet

Steve Parry set a new Commonwealth Record to qualify fastest for the final of the 200m butterfly, besting Michael Phelps in his semi final swim, but there was disappointment for Melanie Marshall as she missed out in the 200m freestyle.

Parry had scraped into the semi finals in 16th place, having misjudged his heats swim but made perfect amends as he blasted away in the first semi. There were worries that the big Liverpudlian had taken the opening hundred too fast as he opened up a 2m lead over the field, including world record holder Michael Phelps, but he brought the second hundred home strongly to touch first in 1:57.57. That swim knocked 0.33 off his own Commonwealth and British marks. The second semi was much slower and Parry now enters his second Olympic final as fastest qualifier.

Marshall was another to have a disappointing heat swim but easily made it into the semi finals. Swimming on the first heat she took the race out hard turning in first place at the 150m mark, but unlike at the trials faded badly over the closing lap to come home in 2:01.08, almost 4 seconds outside her British record. She will now hope for better from the 100m event and relay later in the week.

Meanwhile, Simon Burnett couldn’t quite live with the pace in the 200m freestyle final, coming home in 7th place in 1:48.02, just outside his new British Record mark, but a creditable performance nonetheless.