By Craig Lord
SHEFFIELD, March 22. THE penultimate evening of the Britisg World Championship Trials was a bland affair dictated by a programme that juggled the twin problems of trying to squeeze an eight-day World Championships programme into five days and satisfying the needs of
television on Sunday.
Five finals produced two qualifiers for Barcelona,
Mark Foster over 50m butterfly and Rebecca Cooke over 1,500m freestyle, while Sunday will see 11 finals, some of the best of the Championships.
Men's 50m butterfly
Mark Foster comfortably held all-comers at bay, winning in 23.94 seconds and qualifying for the event in Barcelona, where he will attempt to go better
than his bronze medal of 2001.
Women's 1,500m freestyle
This was pitiful to watch: Commonwealth champion for England over 800m, Rebecca Cooke raced in an eight-lane pool for 30 laps of the 1,500 metres freestyle with only Caroline Saxby for distant company, and in the end missed her British record by 0.43sec to win in 16:20.58. Saxby missed qualification for Spain by a mere five seconds. It was time trial gone wrong, a moment best lived out in private, though Cooke's consolation was the prospect of a much more thrilling race in Barcelona.
Organisers of the British event should hang their heads and think again about a programme that reflects poorly on swimming.
Men's 200m freestyle
James Salter, of Edinburgh, retained his title in
1:49.12 – outside the qualifying time for Barcelona – and announced his retirement from the sport. Ross Davenport, of University of Bath, was second in 1:51.33, with Simon Burnett third in 1:51.51.