SWANSEA, Wales, GBR, June 1. BRITAIN'S swimmers showed just how far they have come in the past 12 months with some impressive performances on the final day of a World Championship preparation meet in Swansea.
James Gibson of Loughborough University was the finest example of the strides British Swimming is making ahead of the World Championships in Barcelona this summer and the Athens 2004 Olympics.
In the space of two days Gibson raced the 100m Breaststroke three times and posted hugely impressive 61seconds plus times on each occasion – a feat anyone else in the world would find hard to beat.
At the same stage last year Gibson would be looking to deliver times of around 64seconds so the improvement has been massive and that is without rest and proper race preparation.
"I managed three 1:01 races back to back in the space of two days which is pretty good. It was a shame to get slower throughout the three instead of getting faster and I've still got a lot to improve on in Glasgow," said Gibson.
"However, I've moved on three seconds from where I was last year largely due to the good training I've been doing at the new 50m pool in Loughborough. I'm pleased I'm moving forward."
Close rival, Univeristy of Bath's Darren Mew, also put in some solid swims and eventually took the 100m Breaststroke title when he won the skins final against Ian Edmond of Edinburgh.
David Davies provided a rousing finish to the action before his home Welsh crowd. After taking the 1500m title in a time of 15.24.04 he was back in the pool minutes later to steal a tight finish in the final of the 200m Freestyle.
Despite his earlier efforts Davies turned on the power to overhaul Bath's Robin Francis in the closing stages to touch in a new Welsh Record time of 1:51.42.
Other notable results from day three included Stephanie Proud of Durham winning the 100m Backstroke title, Cardiff's Gemma Howells took both the 50m and 200m Butterfly titles, Edinburgh's Kirsty Balfour headed the field in the 200m Breaststroke, Matt Bowe of Bath University won the 100m Butterfly, Porstmouth's Katy Sexton took a rare victory in the 100m Freestyle, Gregor Tait of Edinburgh grabbed the honours in the 200m Backstroke while Rebecca Cooke of Glasgow took both the 400m IM and 400m Freestyle titles.
(courtesy British swimming)