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Sexton Hoping to Make Dent as British Swimming Holds Last-Chance Qualifier for World Champs -- June 14, 2005

SWANSEA, Wales, June 14. ON top of the world two years ago, Katy Sexton is just hoping for a return trip to the World Championships. The British standout will get her opportunity this weekend at a last-chance qualifier at the Wales National Pool.

While 10 athletes have already qualified for the British squad that will compete in Montreal next month, National Performance Director Bill Sweetenham is hoping the size of the team grows after this weekend, where swimming is scheduled from Friday through Sunday. Sexton is looking for a qualifying time in the 200 backstroke.

Two years ago, in Barcelona, Sexton won the 200 backstroke world championship in 2:08.74, marking the first time a British woman had captured a world title. But, over the last year, Sexton struggled and managed only seventh place in the distance dorsal at the Athens Olympics. Now, she’s still short a qualifying time for the World Champs, as Sweetenham is requiring times equal to or better than 10th in the world.

"I want to nail down a really good time this weekend. I have to show people I can still do it and that I'm the one that still has to be beaten," said Sexton.

James Gibson, with a provisional time in the 50 breast, is likely to return to the World Champs where he will defend his title in the event. However, illness will keep Simon Burnett from appearing in Montreal. Burnett, the NCAA record-holder in the 200 free, was seventh in the 200 free in Athens. Also, Matt Kidd, a former sprint sensation at Auburn and two-time Olympian, has announced his retirement.