Cooke Claims Third Gold At British Nationals

STOCKPORT, England, August 17. WORLD Championship bronze medalist Rebecca Cooke claimed her third title as well as her third British record to bring the National Short Course Swimming Championships in Stockport to a close.

Cooke, already the proud owner of two golds and the British records that went with them in the 400m and 800m Freestyle, made it a hat-trick of titles over the four-day meet when she came from behind to take the 400m individual medley crown in 4:38.18.

The Glasgow-based swimmer took a full second off the previous three-year-old record, held by Rachel Corner, when she overhauled long-time leader and the eventual silver medalist Rebecca Shaw of Leeds.

Cooke’s freestyle leg was too much for the remainder of the field to hold on to and she dominated the final 100m to beat Shaw into second on 4:42.74 and Stephanie Proud of Durham Aquatics was third in 4:44.42.

“I’m really pleased with that,” said Cooke. “I knew exactly what the record was before and I was aiming to take it tonight. My first three legs aren’t that good so I have to really make up for it on the freestyle leg but I’m delighted with another record to add to the last two days.”

Cooke’s third record brought the number of new British standards set at the championships to 14 over the four days and also includes three Commonwealth records and a host of junior times also.

World Championship silver medalist Ian Edmond of Edinburgh looked comfortable but could have gone faster when he took the 200m breaststroke title in 2:08.73 ahead of Chris Cooke of Newcastle in 2:09.73 and James Gibson in 2:10.39.

“I’m pretty disappointed with that really,” said Edmond. “I thought I had the record in me after the way I’ve been swimming recently but it’s come off the back of a pretty tough summer racing schedule.

“I need to work on a short course race plan. I’m not comfortable with it the way I am long course. Short course 200s are completely different races and I need to swim them more often.”

Mel Marshall of Loughborough came out on top of the tough encounter that was the women’s 200m freestyle final. Marshall touched home in 1:56.22, just outside the British record time of 1:56.08. Canadian Brittany Reimer was second in 1:57.51 and Karen Pickering of Ipswich was third in 1:59.48.

“I felt bad in the heats this morning but people told me I looked good so I thought why not my turn tonight?” said Marshall. “It felt so good so I thought I would just go for it. It’s tough racing here – it’s so competitive and there are a lot of good swimmers in this country so to win is just great but I’m gutted not to get the record.”

British record-holder James Hickman of Manchester took the gold in the men’s 100m individual medley when he built up an impressive lead over the first three legs to hold on to victory in 54.91. Adrian Turner of Stockport was second in 55.66 and Edmond was third in 55.67.

One of the tightest finishes of the night came in the women’s 100m breaststroke where Kate Haywood of Lincoln just edged the affair in 1:08.25 from Kirsty Balfour of Edinburgh in 1:08.37 and Rachel Genner of Coventry took the bronze in 1:08.43.

Simon Burnett of Wycombe took the honours in the Men’s 200m Freestyle in 1:45.79 ahead of Adam Faulkner in 1:45.43 and Steve Parry of Stockport in 1:47.01.

Ros Brett of Loughborough was way ahead of the field in the Women’s 100m Butterfly and hit the wall first in 59.75 ahead of Pickering in 1:01.21 and Sarah Healey of Loughborough in 1:01.50.

Gregor Tait of Edinburgh continued his current good form to take the gold in the Men’s 100m Backstroke and Katy Sexton of Portsmouth added the 200m Backstroke title to her 100m gold from earlier in the week.

In the Men’s 50m Butterfly Mark Foster won the gold in 23.57 and in the Women’s 50m Freestyle Alison Sheppard dominated to take the title in 24.37.

Courtesy: British Swimming

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