SWANSEA, Wales, GBR, May 31. BRITISH swimmer Adrian Turner is fighting against all the odds to make the British squad destined for this summer's World Championships but at a preparation meet in Swansea he showed he could well be winning the battle when he turned in a performance second only to his personal best.
The Stockport Metro's remarkable recovery from a broken collar bone at the turn of the year is far from complete and time is stacked very much against but his swim in last night's heats of the 400m Individual Medley was testament to the amount of work he has put in and the courage he has shown.
With wires still holding the collar bone in place, and with the scars as a reminder, Turner qualified second fastest for this morning's final, behind University of Bath's Robin Francis, in 4:22.40.
However, his need for greater recovery time, due to the injury, eventually showed when he trailed Francis to the wall in the final by nearly six seconds. Francis, with an impressive swim, touched in 4:21.85, while Tuner took second in 4:27.72.
Despite the margin, Turner remained upbeat about the progress he has made at the new Welsh National Pool in Swansea.
"Last night's performance was my second fastest of all time. This morning, however, I didn't have any adrenalin to get me going. I'm still recovering from my break and maybe last night took something out of me," said Turner.
In order to promote faster swims in the morning, National Performance Director Bill Sweetenham has switched the finals to the mornings instead of their usual evening slot.
Turner is one of those swimmers looking to benefit from this alternative thinking and, despite his present condition, is already seeing some of the benefits.
"I'm quite pleased with the time I posted this morning, it was just the swim I'm not happy with. It's my second best morning swim ever as I don't tend to perform as well early in the day. This is something I need to put right. It's the whole point of this meet and I totally agree with it."
Turner has just three weeks now to prepare for his final chance of selection to the British squad. The Commonwealth medallist will go to the Scottish Nationals in Glasgow later this month looking to achieve the qualifying time.
Coach Sean Kelly is optimistic about his swimmer's chances of qualifying but feels it might just be too soon for Turner. "Ady is a very courageous swimmer. He's thorough, thoughtful and a very tough guy. He's really been putting the work in to try to get back to his best and we're hoping it will happen for him in Glasgow," said Kelly.
Barnet Copthall's Sarah Price was another swimmer to impress in Swansea when she easily won her final of the 200m Backstroke. Her time of 2:12.75 gave her a six plus second gap over second place Louise Coull of Ren 96 and showed that Price was only racing against the clock.
"That's faster than I was in Bath," said Price. "I came home so strong but it felt as though I didn't go out as quick as I should have done. It was a good training swim for me. I feel strong and I'm getting faster. That time was top 10 in the world this year which isn't bad for a training swim."
Instead of eight swimmers contesting one race, the 50m and 100m events were all swum in a skins format which saw the last placed swimmer dropped from each race until just two remained in a face off.
James Goddard of Stockport Metro won his final of the 100m Backstroke, in this format, in a time of 58.28 from Matt Bowe of University of Bath on 1:02.63.
Some of the more well known faces of British Swimming were missing from certain finals due to the tough policy, devised by Sweetenham, of only allowing swimmers to make a final if they swam their heats to within 2% of their personal best time.
Those that rose to the occasion, however, included City of Newcastle's Chris Cook who won the final of the 50m breaststroke in 30.13, Kathryn Evans of Nova Centurion who took the 50m Freestyle in 28.36, Kirsty Balfour of City of Edinburgh with the 100m Breaststroke title in 1:10.73 and team mate Ian Edmond who won the 200m Breaststroke title in 2:14.29.
There were many positives to come out of the first finals session of the meet which was hampered in parts by teething problems with the brand new facility.
"There were some solid swims today from the likes of Robin Francis, James Goddard and Steve Parry who won the 50m Butterfly," said Head Coach Ian Turner. "Sarah Price was exceptional yet again putting in another world ranked top 10 swim."
(courtesy British Swimming)