By Craig Lord
MANCHESTER, England, March 16. THE first race, the first shock: with the three fastest Britons over 400 metres freestyle now retired, a man called David was expected to take the British title here. But the surname Carry, not Davies, graced the top of the scoreboard, as the Scotsman raced at his best to exploit unexpected weakness in the Welshman who won the Olympic bronze medal over 1,500 metres last summer.
The epitome of good coaching by Dave Calleja in Australia and Ian
Turner at Loughborough, Carry, a 23-year-old from Aberdeen with the
smoothest freestyle at these Championships, took early command of a race he
controlled from start to finish on the way to a 3:50.30 victory,
just shy of time he needs to qualify for the World Championships in July.
He has one more chance to do so, in June.
"I was disappointed to have missed the qualifying time, though I've got
another chance at the stage three meet in June," said Carry, who spent the
best part of two years training at Britain's offshore centre on the Gold
Coast before the Olympic Games last year. The smoothness of his technique
was down to "watching Thorpe and Hackett and others in Australia throughout
the year in regular competition … you just absorb it".
Carry returned to Britain and the sport's headquarters at Loughborough
University after the Games and is now coached by Ian Turner. He said he
could not have hoped for better coaching: in Calleja he had the man who had
mentored Graeme Smith to the Scottish record over 400 metres and the Olympic bronze medal over 1,500 metres in 1996, and in Turner he had the man who guided Paul Palmer to Olympic, World and European medals over 400 metres and the British record of 3:48.02 back in 1998.
He now looked forward to the 200 metres later in the week and the 4×200
metres relay later in the summer in Montreal, when he hopes to help Britain
to a medal a year after the national quartet that raced an Olympic final
without him (against Turner's best advice), missed a medal in Athens by a
Asked whether the team would have got the medal with him, he said:
"That's for others to decide. It was disappointing for me not to be in
there. A difficult decision. I'm looking forward to the next time the team
In contrast to Carry's upbeat mood, Davies was down but not out. Coached by
Dave Haller in Cardiff, he appeared to need of a few more days rest to be
at his best for the 1,500 metres on Sunday, though defeat was of less
concern to him than his time of 3:52.35, some four seconds away from
where he had intended to be – Palmer's record.
"It's really annoying," said Davies, "I know I have a fast 400 (metres)
in me. I can do it in training, but not from a cold start, but I know it's
essential that I learn how to. I've got to go back and talk to Dave
(Haller) about it. I'm not really sure why I can't do it. It's another
missed opportunity and I'm not happy about it. That wouldn't even have been
fast enough to go out in for the 1,500."
The first of five days of championships and world trials here was
marked by a stack of semifinals. The 1:08.14 British record of Kate
Haywood over 100 metres breaststroke stood out. The previous best had stood
to Coventry's Rachel Genner at 1:08.86 since January last year.
Haywood, coached by Ben Titley at Loughborough University, said: "I
thought I was going a low 1:09 so to break the British record was
unbelievable. All the hard work I've been doing is finally paying off."
Haywood's form suffered last year after she had her tonsils removed. This
year had been much happier.
"I went on a training camp to South Africa this winter for three
weeks," said Haywood, who turns 18 on April 1. "Ben's been pushing me hard
and we're starting to get results."
Haywood's teammate Liam Tancock, 19, qualified fastest for the final of
the 100 metres backstroke in 55.56 seconds ahead of Olympic teammates Gregor Tait and James Goddard.