sexton relinquishes world title

On a night of world records in Montreal, Britain’s only representative in the evening session Katy Sexton failed to progress to the final of the 200m backstroke, posting a time well outside her best. There was better news, however, for Becky Cooke who bounced back from her 4x200m freestyle relay disappointment to qualify for the 800m freestyle final.
Swimming in the first semi final, Sexton was sluggish from the start and never featured in a race won by 100m champion Kirsty Coventry. The British swimmer’s time of 2:13.41, slower than her earlier heat swim and 5 seconds outside her Commonwealth Record, was only good enough for 12th place overall. Coventry now starts as favourtite to take over the mantle of world champion from Sexton who took the gold in Barcelona two years ago.
The British team management now face something of a quandary in deciding who should swim the lead off leg in the women’s medley relay, with the other backstroker in the squad, Gemma Spofforth also out of sorts at these championships.
In the morning session, Cooke posted a solid 8:33.24 in the 800m freestyle heats to qualify fourth for the final tomorrow night. The biggest challenge will likely come from 1500m winner Kate Zeigler, who again took it easy in qualifying and will occupy lane 7 in the final.
World records were set by Liesel Jones who carved 0.72 seconds off the 200m breaststroke standard and Aaron Peirsol who lowered his own global mark in the 200m backstroke.