SHEFFIELD, England, July 31. DAY four of the ASA Swim 21 National Youth Championships & ASA National Championships (50m) 2007 saw a number of personal-best times and exceptionally close finals, featuring the pick of British swimmers.
The large crowd also witnessed a World Record and a British Record from the cream of British Disability swimmers.
Caitlin McClatchey took the women's 200 freestyle title winning in a time of 1:58.51. The double Commonwealth Games gold medalist was trailing Loughborough University team-mate Mel Marshall at the 150m mark but kicked hard to take gold.
Marshall was second in 1:59.14 and Jo Jackson of Derwentside was third in 1:59.39.
"My main aim for this meet was a season's best and that's what I've done. I've been working on my speed and it's showing all the time but there's still more to do."
Lizzie Simmonds continued her dominance of British women's backstroke taking the title in the 100m final.
The 16-year old Lincoln Vulcans swimmer was pushed hard by Katy Sexton of Portsmouth Northsea but had done enough to win gold, finishing in a time of 1:01.28.
Sexton took silver in 1:01.93 and Karen Lee of Bath University won bronze in 1:03.07.
It's been a tough couple of months for Simmonds.
"I felt my shoulder tighten slightly tonight. I gave it my all in the 200m event earlier in the meet, and after a busy two weeks including the European Junior Championships I'm beginning to feel it," Simmonds said. "It was still a fast time though and I'm not on my taper yet for the international meets this month. It's always nice to win a medal but one day I'll start looking to attack those British Records."
Jemma Lowe won the battle of the 17-year olds in the final of the women's 100 butterfly. The Borough of Stockton swimmer was pushed all the way by City of Liverpool's Fran Halsall to win gold in 59.26. Halsall fought hard but in the end had to settle for silver in 59.33 while Terri Dunning ensured a tight finish to take bronze in 59.52.
After the race Lowe was clearly relieved:
"I was really nervous tonight. I knew they would be chasing me all the way and I felt it. I could see swimmers either side of me but I just made sure I gave it everything I had," Lowe said. "I felt tight after last night but I didn't want to give it up and I'm happy with gold."
Liam Tancock won the final of the men's 50 backstroke, finishing in a fast 24.96. Matt Clay of Swansea Performance Centre won silver in 25.72, with Gregor Tait taking bronze in 25.93, a Scottish Record.
"It was a fast time but it was not the best of finishes, I reached far too early," Tancock said "It's been a good week for me and I am enjoying the meet. I'm swimming fast having had no rest but I'm looking to go quicker in Japan next month. I'm looking forward to Japan, the experience and different culture and of course to race against the rest of the world."
Michael Rock stormed to victory in the men's 200 butterfly final. Rock went out fast and from early on the title was never in doubt. The 20 year old finished in 1:57.48, over three seconds faster than second placed swimmer Lewis Smith of Warrender Baths Club. Smith's time of 2:00.90 was a lifetime best. Andrew Mayor, City of Newcastle won bronze in 2:01.08.
Jonathan Fox of Newquay was in world record breaking form in the men's Multi-Disability (MD) 50 backstroke.
In this morning's heats the 16-year old shaved half a second off Andrew Lindsay's existing time for S7 classification, to achieve a world best standard of 35.16.
In the final he couldn't match the morning's efforts, although Andrew Lindsay pushed him all the way in an attempt to reclaim his record. Fox took the title with 1015 points (35.48) with Lindsay winning silver with 997 points (35.69). David Hill of Kelly College, an S9 athlete took bronze with 863 points (31.63).
"I've been targeting that record all season since the World Championships" said Fox after the race. "It's great to finally hold it after all that hard work. I was a bit slower tonight but overall I'm very happy with how the meet is going."
In the women's MD 50 backstroke final, S1 swimmer Danielle Watts from City of Oxford took gold with 848 points. Jan Langton of Kelly College (S6) was second with 815 points/48.27 and Kate Grey of Thornbury (S9) won bronze with 730 points/37.69.
Kris Gilchrist showed his good form in the men's 200 breaststroke final, finishing in 2:12.40, over two seconds ahead of closest rival Richard Webb who won silver in 2:14.48.
Chris Watkinson from Loughborough University was third in 2:16.85.
"That was a good time although I think I could have gone faster in the last 50m," said Gilchrist after the race. "I tried something different tonight. I used to pick up my pace on the third 50m. I've been doing it earlier recently so decided to try it once again. It seems to have worked because I felt strong, but I'll look at my times and see how it looked on paper."
It was a game of cat and mouse for two of the UK's top female distance swimmers in the 1500 freestyle.
Rebecca Cooke and Cassie Patten both took to the front at several points throughout the race, with neither managing to get more than a heads advantage, until around the 250-meter mark.
It was Cooke who then found that extra head of steam and looked certain for the win. Patten, however, responded and kicked hard and the pair were again neck and neck going into the final 50 meters.
In the end, it went down to the touch and Cooke came out victorious with a time of 16:25.29, just a fingertip ahead of Patten who had to settle for silver in 16:25.44. Jazmin Carlin of Tigersharks won bronze in 16:51.83.
"That was a fun race," said Cooke after the race. "I know Cassie has a great finish so I had to work hard to find an edge. My main event is the 800m, but competing in the 1500m is always helps with endurance."
Kate Haywood won her second title of the meet, taking gold in the final of the women's 100 breaststroke. Haywood from Loughborough University won in 31.62, just ahead of Zoe Baker who finished in 31.70 and received a commemorative medal.
Lowri Tynan of Wrexham picked up the silver medal in 32.49 and Kirsty Balfour from City of Edinburgh Swimming took bronze in 32.84.
"I'm pleased but I could have gone quicker," Haywood said. "I'm lacking speed at the moment through an illness I had last week. I noticed I was sluggish in the 100m event but I'm sure it will all come right over the next two weeks leading up to Japan. Overall it's been a good week for me and I'm looking to build on my success over the rest of the season."
Claire Cashmore of Kelly College (SB8) broke the British Record in the final of the women's MD 100 breaststroke. Cashmore finished with the bronze medal with a time of 1:27.26 and 817 points. Liz Johnson from Swansea Performance Centre (SB6) took the title in 1:44.15/907 points with Charlotte Henshaw winning silver in 1:45.06/884 points.
"I'm quite happy but felt I could have gone quicker," Cashmore said. "Training has been very good and I expected more but I know it will happen. I'm not taking a break as its all going so well but I'll lower my intensity over the next couple of weeks before we look to Beijing."
In the men's MD 100 breaststroke final, the honors went to Sascha Kindred of Leominster (S7) who won gold in 1:23.91/960 points. Silver went to Dave Ellis of Derventio (S13) in 1:12.68 and Matthew Whorwood of Newquay (S6) took bronze in 1:37.04/722 points.
Bolton Metro Club took gold and bronze medals in the men's 15/16 yrs 200 freestyle. Ryan Bennett took the gold in a time of 1:51.87 with bronze going to Thomas Booth in 1:54.76. Silver went to Thomas Parris of Crawley in 1:53.66.
In the 17/18 yrs age group, the title went to Christopher Walker-Hebborn of Team Ipswich in 1:51.87. Bolton Metro's Robert Bale took silver in 1:52.51, just ahead of Christopher Fox of Wolverhampton who won bronze in 1:52.54.
In the women's 14/15 yrs 200 IM the title went to Sophie Allen of Lincoln Vulcans in 2:18.65. Aimee Willmott, recently returned from the EYOF in Belgrade, was second in 2:21.02 and Robyn Matthews claimed third place in 2:22.79.
In the 16/17 yrs age group, Karlien Van Heerden from South Africa was awarded a commemorative medal for finishing first in 2:18.68, but the National title went to Jessica Dickons from Borough of Stockton who touched home in 2:18.73.
Emma Smithurst from Derventio won silver in 2:19.59 and Kate Hutchinson from City of Leeds took bronze in 2:20.72.
The Men's 400m Medley Relay was won by Millfield School in 3:51.81. Plymouth Leander were second in 3:52.60 and City of Newcastle picked up the bronze medal in 3:55.33.
In the Women's event it was the team from Nova Centurion who won gold in 4:17.16, well ahead of silver-medalist Beckenham who finished in 4:21.71. The team from City of Birmingham was third in 4:22.10.
Special thanks to British Swimming for contributing this report.