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Gibson, Marshall Win Again at British Prep Meet for Worlds -- May 11, 2003

BATH, England, May 10. BRITAIN'S swimmers continued their World Championship preparations with some solid performances at the concluding session of a University of Bath meet that demanded of the swimmers a greater racing focus while piling on the workload.

The World Championships in Barcelona will begin in just over two months time and between now and then Britain's swimmers will have swum at three stage meets designed to increase their work as the Spanish event looms closer.

Stage one of this programme of preparation saw Britain's elite in action in Bath where for three days the athletes started their journey to Barcelona in a positive fashion.

Loughborough University freestyler Mel Marshall added the 100m title to her earlier 200m honour when she headed a tight finish in 56.18 from Ferndown Otters' Karen Legg in 56.66 while Ros Brett of Loughborough was third in 58.52.

Another Loughborough swimmer to make it two victory's out of two events was James Gibson who added the 100m Breaststroke title in 1:01.88 to yesterday's 50m award. Gibson, however, was once again chased all of the way by close rival Darren Mew of University of Bath in 1.02.45 while City of Newcastle's Chris Cook came home third in 1:04.29.

Kirsty Balfour of City of Edinburgh capped off a busy weekend by making it a clean-sweep of breaststroke titles. In the final session she saw off all challengers to take the 50m title in 32.92 but only after she had added the 200m title in 2:33.43. On Saturday Balfour won the 100m honour to complete the hat-trick.

The men's 200m Individual Medley saw Robin Francis of Bath dominate after he used his strength in the breaststroke event to leave the field behind to touch home in 2:03.54. Another athlete way ahead of the rest was Glasgow's Rebecca Cooke who enjoyed a comfortable victory in 4:17.54 over the 400m Freestyle.

Other notable results saw Bath's Alan Bircher take the 1500m title, Southends' Nathalie Brown won both the 200m Butterfly and the 400m IM, Edinburgh's Gregor Tait took the 200m Backstroke title while Loughborough's Chris Cozens added the 50m Freestyle to his 100m title.