Katy Sexton Bests Sarah Price as Both Women Break 100m Backstroke Commonwealth Record at British Trials

By Craig Lord

MANCHESTER, England, March 20. BRITISH swimming found itself celebrating two of the fastest women in
history over 100 metres backstroke tonight when Katy Sexton shattered the Commonwealth record to book her place at the world championships and leave the previous holder, Sarah Price, stunned that a best time had no longer been good enough to retain her national title.

It was, and is likely to remain, the most unexpected result at the trials to select the team that will represent Great Britain in Barcelona in July. But it was not Price's first domestic defeat over 100 metres in more than three years that caused the Commonwealth champion and onlookers to catch breath but the times on the scoreboard: 1min 00.49sec, the sixth
fastest ever on a list that includes an embarrasment of Chinese and East Germans, and 1min 00.77sec, the ninth fastest.

Of those currently competing, only world record holder Natalie Coughlin, of the US, has swum faster, with that sub-1-minute stormer recently. The Commonwealth record had stood to Price at 1:01.06sec before the trials here in Manchester, while Price had lowered the mark to 1:00.94sec in the semi-final.

Sexton, coached by Chris Nesbitt in Portsmouth and whose best before the championships was 1min 01.80sec, was overjoyed: "O my God! I'm not going to sleep tonight," she said. "I knew I was capable of doing a good time but had no idea I'd go that fast." She put her new found speed down to the weight-training she has introduced to her programme since the Commonwealth Games in Manchester last year, where she finished third behind Price in the 200 metres and so lost a title she had won as a hugely promising 15-year-old in 1998.

While Price, coached by Rhys Gormley in London, was being "beasted" on world-cup tour in Europe with Bill Sweetenham, performance director, this winter, Sexton was on a three-week training at Britain's official offshore training camp on the Gold Coast in Australia. "That's definitely helped," she said before the understatement caused her to burst into laughter.

There was none of that from Price, who congratulated Sexton with an emotional hug that had both women in tears. Price's gesture was both sportsmanlike and gracious but her face told the picture of one determined not to let it happen again. "I'm disappointed with that," she said. "All credit to Katy but no one likes to get beaten and I certainly don't
…it's just not good enough. But I'll get on the team and I'll fight back."

Price has three more chances to qualify for the second berth, the final one at the Scottish national championships in Glasgow in June.

The race after Sexton's stunner was somewhat
over-shadowed, which was a pity given that it produced a 2mins 11.56sec effort over 200m breaststroke
from Ian Edmond. The time, a Scottish record, was just 0.27sec outside Olympic and world championship medal winner Nick Gillingham's British record, marked the 11th fastest ever and will take Edmond to Barcelona.

OTHER EVENTS

Women's 400m medley
Britain's weakness in this event continues, particularly in the absence of Rebecca Cooke, who withdrew from the final to concentrate on the final of
the 800 metres freestyle which fell in the same session courtesy of efforts to squeeze an eight-day programme into five for the trials.

The title went to 17-year-old Rebecca Shaw, of Leeds, in a personal best of 4mins 50.53sec, ahead of teammate 16-year-old Julia Preston, on 4:51.73sec,
also a best time. Thea Evanson, of Loughborough University, was third on 4:55.05sec.

Men's 100m butterfly

Four times world short-course champion over 200 metres butterfly, James Hickman suffered his first domestic defeat over 100m butterfly for the first time since 1994 at the hands of 19-year-old Todd Cooper, of Stirling, who set a Scottish record of 53.68sec. The record had been Todd's at 54.09sec since the semi-finals yesterday.

Britain was not represented over 100 and 200m butterfly at the last world championships in Japan, both Hickman and Stephen Parry having failed to make the grade set by Sweetenham's first push to "raise the bar". The bar has since been raised further, dictating Hickman had to shave 0.05sec off his British record of 52.87sec, set in Ponds Forge at the Olympic trials in 2000, to book a place in Barcelona.

Hickman, 27, was in no shape to rival his best last night, nor indeed the Scottish record of 53.68sec in which it took Todd Cooper, of Stirling, to beat him by 0.10sec. Hickman had won every national title over 100m since 1994, first under the guidance of coach Dave Calleja at Stockport and since 1998 while guided at Leeds by coach Terry Denison, who will retire
after these trials.

But neither domestic nor international successes gone by are recognised or respected by Britain's mission to have Sweetenham guide its swimmers to the Olympic medal rostrum in a world that never stands still. Winner of four world and three European titles in a short-course pool, Hickman knows that his supremacy in a 25-metre pool and superb turning skills are
irrelevant when it comes to the summer long-course season.

Hickman said: "I'm disappointed with my speed – it's not there at the moment. It was a great swim by Todd." Cooper was disappointed not to have gone even faster but was happy with his first national title.

Hickman must now set his sights to the resumption of battle with Stephen Parry over 200 metres on Sunday and has a second chance to qualify for Barcelona at the Scottish national championships in Glasgow in June.

Women's 50m breaststroke

Zoe Baker's world-title bid remained on course last night when she booked her place on the Great Britain team bound for Barcelona in July with a solid performance over 50 metres breaststroke at the trials in Sheffield.

In the absence of rivals from the same league, it was little surprise that Baker, 27, fell 0.91sec shy of the 30.57sec world record she set to claim the Commonwealth crown in Manchester last year.
Nonetheless, in retaining her British title in 31.48sec – the trials also double as national championships – Baker, 27, was well inside the 31.99sec required to qualify for the world championships in Spain and a world away from the next home, 15-year-old Kate Haywood, of Lincoln, on 32.67sec.

Baker said: "I'm not in the best shape of my life…a second outside my world record. It's my first long-course final since the Commonwealth Games. It's hard because everyone thinks you're going to get in the water to break a record but it doesn't happen like that. I'm aiming to break the world record in Barcelona."

Baker will prepare for her world title bid in Britain after deciding to return from her adopted home of the past five years in New Zealand. "It's been a tough decision," said Baker. "After the trials I'll return to
New Zealand for six weeks to start my preparation for the world championships before returning permanently in mid-May."

She will not return to Sheffield, however, but Loughborough University, which now built up a very strong squad under the guidance of coach Ian Armiger.
"I'm now swimming under Loughborough University because I found that whenever I returned to the UK I was spending most of my time there," said Baker.
"I have good friends there, they have a fantastic new 50m facility and the Loughborough team are a very vocal lot when racing and this is very important."

Baker will now concentrate on improving her time over 100m, which, unlike the 50 metres, is an Olympic event and the only one that can secure her a place in Athens next year.

Men's 50m backstroke

Commonwealth champion over 200 metres backstroke, Stockport's James Goddard, 19, took his first national 50-metres title in 26.42sec and then returned to the water an hour later to shatter the British 200m record, in 1min 58.97sec, to qualify fastest for Friday's final.

With all three medal winners aged between 17 and 20 over 50 metres, it was little wonder that none of them had the strength and speed required to achieve the qualifying standard to take them to Barcelona, of 25.89sec.

There is hope for the future: Exeter's Liam Tancock, 17, was second in 26.57sec, with third place going to University of Bath's Matthew Clay, 20, on 26.74sec, although 50-metre races, not part of the Olympic programme, do not figure in performance director Bill Sweetenham's book of favourites.

Meanwhile, Sweetenham's policy dictates that Goddard's 1min 58.97sec will not guarantee him a place in Barcelona. Though inside the selection time, selection rests on doing the time in the final. That will be a
blistering affair: the man who took the silver behind Goddard in Manchester last year, Gregor Tait, of Edinburgh, established a Scottish record of 1min
59.23sec in the same semi-final and with that also found himself inside the previous British record, which had stood at 1min 59.52sec to former
Commonwealth champion Adam Ruckwood since 1995.

Goddard, who spent the first five years of his life living in the Seychelles before his family moved to live under more leden skies in Stockport, Northern England, said: "That's what the plan was tonight, to to
get inside the qualifying time and then see if I can repeat it tomorrow in the final. With Gregor next to me always got to stay on my toes. There's always that bit of pressure with him there and he also swam inside record time so let's see what tomorrow brings.

Goddard looked up to the stands to wave at Ruckwood and said of the record, with a smile: "It's about time it went – it's been there too long."

Women's 50m freestyle

Even champions can get it wrong. Alison Sheppard's mistake made little difference to the result, victory and qualification for Barcelona, but it made a huge difference to the time.

Sheppard, 30, stormed down the pool in a class of her own and had placed a clear gap between her toes and the fingers of rivals going into the final 5 metres. With head down and arms motoring it looked as though Sheppard would clock a time inside 24.50sec. And then came the mistake, an extra stroke that looked as illogical as it was unnecessary. The clock sighed the
result: 24.98sec.

"I'm really disappointed with my finish," said Sheppard. "I messed up when I took that extra stroke and it lost me time. I wanted to go under 25 seconds so in that sense I've got to be satisfied with that. May be it could have been quicker, but I'll learn from it – that's what racing's all about."

Sweetenham, who has described Sheppard as the "model professional" agreed: "Yep, that was a real mess of a finish. She'll have to look at that and make sure it doesn't happen again."

Second place went to Rosalind Brett, of Loughborough University, on 25.92sec, and third to Kathryn Evans, of Nottingham's Nova Centurion, on 26.16sec.

Women's 200m butterfly

With Georgina Lee given leave of absence to compete in the NCAA's in the US, the 200m butterfly did not produce performances that merited selction for Barcelona. The title went to Loughborough University's Sarah Pyne, 22, in 2min 15.48sec.

Women's 800m freestyle

Rebecca Cooke, who trains in Glasgow with coach Stephen Hill, cruised to a comfortable 8mins 36.35sec victory and qualification for Barcelona.

Men's 100m freestyle

Chris Cozens, of Loughborough University, raced inside 50 seconds for the second time in two days, to win in 49.90sec, not good enough to take him to Barcelona.

2003 British Championships (50m)
19/03/2003 to 23/03/2003
DAY TWO: March 20, 2003

Event 19 Women 400 LC Meter IM
==================================================================
Name Age Team Heats Finals
==================================================================
=== Finals ===

1 SHAW, Rebecca 18 CO Leeds 4:54.89 4:50.53
2 PRESTON, Julia 17 CO Leeds 4:58.61 4:51.73
3 EVANSON, Thea 23 Loughboro UN 4:55.62 4:55.05
4 HEYES, Sarah 20 CO Manch AQ 4:58.24 4:55.47
5 CHARLESWORTH, Nicola 21 Co Cambridge 5:02.42 5:00.54
6 GRETTON, Stephanie 20 Loughboro UN 5:05.18 5:02.89
7 DON DUNCAN, Helen 22 CO Coventry 5:05.47 5:03.53
8 CHASE, Laura 16 Portsmouth N 5:00.16 5:07.22

=== Heats ===

1 COOKE, Rebecca 20 CO Glasgow 4:52.17
7 JAMES, Sarah 17 Stockport MO 5:01.46
11 CAUL, Sophie 17 CO Coventry 5:05.89
12 GOULD, Julie 14 Guildford CT 5:06.01
13 RUDGE, Susannah 16 Bath Univ 5:06.89
14 TADD, Stacey 14 Bath Univ 5:08.07
15 BUCHAN, Kerry 16 South Aberde 5:08.41
16 WIGHTMAN, Lauren 16 CO Coventry 5:08.90
17 TOWERS, Katie 15 Amersham 5:09.53
18 TAYLOR, Elspeth 14 Bath Univ 5:10.71
19 CRAWLEY, Natasha 17 Middlesboro 5:13.99
20 HOLDERNESS, Alexandra 14 Millfield 5:14.78
21 BENNETT, Emma 14 Plymouth Lea 5:15.50
22 STIRLING, Aileen 13 CO Glasgow 5:19.09
23 GAGE, Emma 14 Stockport MO 5:19.12
24 TAYLOR, Krissie 14 Co Cambridge 5:19.35
25 HARRISON, Emma 13 Warrender 5:19.95
26 MURPHY, Louise 14 CO Salford 5:22.83
27 BARCLAY, Jade 14 Bexley 5:30.82

Event 5 Men 100 LC Meter Butterfly
==================================================================
Name Age Team Semis Finals
==================================================================
=== Finals ===

1 COOPER, Todd 20 Stirlingswim 54.39 53.68
2 HICKMAN, James 27 CO Leeds 53.94 53.78
3 BENNETT, David 22 Beckenham 54.57 54.14
4 PARRY, Stephen 26 Stockport MO 54.46 54.22
5 BERESFORD, Jason 20 CO Coventry 55.52 55.86
6 TANCOCK, Ryan 20 Exeter City 55.76 55.88
7 LEEL, Martin 18 Co Aberdeen 55.83 56.11
8 EDWARDS, Matthew 17 Kings Lynn 56.25 56.51

=== Semi-Finals ===

9 LEWIS, Mark 20 Stirlingswim 56.47
10 ROCK, Michael 16 Everton 56.75
11 LAY, Jack 17 CO Leicester 57.13
12 WIGG, Darren 23 CO Newcastle 57.20
13 BATES, John 17 Kingstonhull 57.26
14 GRAVES, James 18 Lincoln Vulc 57.43
15 Le COUILLIARD, Simon 16 Portsmouth N 57.96
16 HARNETT, Tom 21 Beckenham 58.17

Event 6 Women 50 LC Meter Breaststroke
==================================================================
Name Age Team Semis Finals
==================================================================
=== Finals ===

1 BAKER, Zoe 27 Loughboro UN 31.58 31.48
2 HAYWOOD, Kate 16 Lincoln Vulc 32.53 32.67
3 CALLAGHAN, Grace 15 CO Coventry 33.15 33.20
4 BALFOUR, Kirsty 19 CO Edinburgh 32.99 33.24
4 HOLDERNESS, Georgia 16 Millfield 33.58 33.24
6 MULLINS, Joanne 20 Loughboro UN 33.64 33.47
7 TYNAN, Lowri 16 Wrexham 33.73 33.72
8 PRESTON, Hayley 18 CO Edinburgh 33.73 34.06

=== Semi-Finals ===

2 ROBINSON, Emma 25 Bath Univ 32.52
6 KING, Jaime 27 Bath Univ 33.54
11 MAXWELL, Charlotte 19 Bath Univ 33.80
12 TONKS, Lorna 15 Millfield 34.07
13 SANDWITH, Emma 17 Cockermouth 34.36
14 BEANEY, Victoria 18 Elmbridge 34.46
15 WILSON, Rachael 15 Durham Aqua 34.62
16 KIFF, Michelle 20 Loughboro UN 34.70

Event 7 Men 50 LC Meter Backstroke
==================================================================
Name Age Team Semis Finals
==================================================================
=== Finals ===

1 GODDARD, James 20 Stockport MO 26.36 26.42
2 TANCOCK, Liam 18 Exeter City 26.39 26.57
3 CLAY, Matthew 21 Bath Univ 26.73 26.74
4 BARTER, Kevin 24 CO Coventry 26.98 26.92
5 OXFORD, Nathan 20 Nova Cent'n 27.23 27.09
6 ROBSON, Paul 18 CO Newcastle 27.74 27.65
7 PORTER, Simon 20 Loughboro UN 27.49 27.86
8 MIRZA, Jamil 18 Barnet Copthall 28.01 28.14

=== Semi-Finals ===

3 TAIT, Gregor 24 CO Edinburgh 26.48
5 NECKLES, Nick 25 Stirlingswim 26.80
11 THURSTON, Alex 22 Nova Cent'n 28.06
12 POWELL, Ian 18 Millfield 28.18
13 HOLT, David 18 Stockport MO 28.61
14 EDMONDS, James 17 Plymouth Lea 28.75
15 ROBERTS, Joel 18 CO Edinburgh 28.79
— SANDELL, Matthew 18 Reading NS

Event 8 Women 50 LC Meter Freestyle
==================================================================
Name Age Team Semis Finals
==================================================================
=== Finals ===

1 SHEPPARD, Alison 31 Milngavie &B 24.97 24.98
2 BRETT, Rosalind 24 Loughboro UN 25.87 25.92
3 EVANS, Kathryn 22 Nova Cent'n 26.35 26.16
4 WINDEATT, Claire 18 Kingstonhull 26.98 26.80
5 CRAY, Zoe 29 Ipswich 26.81 26.86
6 CHAPMAN, Lisa 19 Loughboro UN 26.89 26.87
7 BECKETT, Julia 17 Winchester 26.95 27.03
8 SANDWITH, Emma 17 Cockermouth 26.96 27.11

=== Semi-Finals ===

3 LEGG, Karen 25 Ferndown 25.88
4 MARSHALL, Melanie 21 Loughboro UN 26.06
5 SEXTON, Katy 21 Portsmouth N 26.14
7 DOUGLAS, Julie 23 Loughboro UN 26.71
8 COOK, Vicky 18 Hatfield 26.80
14 HILL, Stephanie 17 Nova Cent'n 26.98
15 McNEILLY, Samantha 24 Loughboro UN 27.03
16 MORAHAN, Rose 16 Millfield 27.16

Event 4 Women 200 LC Meter Butterfly
==================================================================
Name Age Team Semis Finals
==================================================================
=== Finals ===

1 PYNE, Sarah 23 Loughboro UN 2:15.26 2:15.48
2 KAMINSKI, Suzanna 18 BO Kirklees 2:17.82 2:17.42
3 CAMPBELL, Laura 16 Stourbridge 2:21.29 2:18.00
4 KNELLER, Jessica 20 Loughboro UN 2:18.35 2:18.45
5 HEALEY, Sarah 21 Loughboro UN 2:17.86 2:18.82
6 EDGAR, Siobhan 23 CO Edinburgh 2:19.22 2:18.86
7 HOWELLS, Gemma 19 Co Cardiff 2:20.78 2:19.50
8 JOHNSON, Stephanie 15 Durham Aqua 2:20.53 2:20.51

=== Semi-Finals ===

1 KELLEHER, Leonore 21 Loughboro UN 2:15.00
3 JACKSON, Joanne 17 Durham Aqua 2:15.35
7 CHASE, Laura 16 Portsmouth N 2:19.02
11 WICKS, Emma 15 CO South'Ton 2:20.79
13 RICKETTS, Clare 18 Co of Sund'land 2:21.66
14 JACK, Nicola 15 CO Leeds 2:21.69
15 DAVIES, Philippa 19 Hereford 2:22.24
16 COGDALE, Lauren 15 Romford Town 2:23.41

Event 14 Women 800 LC Meter Freestyle
==================================================================
Name Age Team Heats Finals
==================================================================
=== Finals ===

1 COOKE, Rebecca 20 CO Glasgow 8:40.91 8:36.35
2 PAYNE, Kerianne 16 Aquabears 8:51.62 8:41.76
3 SAXBY, Caroline 20 Wear Valley 9:02.41 8:44.52
4 JAMES, Sarah 17 Stockport MO 8:52.07 8:54.82
5 WICKS, Emma 15 CO South'Ton 9:05.17 9:01.45
6 ADLINGTON, Rebecca 14 Nova Cent'n 9:07.75 9:04.44
7 JASON, Dawn 16 West Suffolk 9:07.33 9:05.74
8 EDMONDSON, Amy 16 CO Leeds 9:09.38 9:06.93

=== Heats ===

6 JACKSON, Joanne 17 Durham Aqua 9:05.18
7 PRINCE, Natalie 17 Elmbridge 9:05.83
8 BROWN, Nathalie 20 BO Southend 9:06.40
12 GAGE, Emma 14 Stockport MO 9:13.41
13 LEARMONTH, Jessica 15 CO Leeds 9:16.86
14 FINN, Lucy 16 Bolton Metro 9:19.33
15 HARRIS, Ashley 14 Barnet Copthall 9:20.26
16 BOWMAN, Ashton 16 Alloa 9:24.40
17 RASHLEIGH, Emily 13 Bolton Metro 9:26.93
18 BAKER, Hayley 14 Windsor 9:29.97
19 SIDDONS, Sally 14 BO Kirklees 9:33.08
20 ROSE, Samantha 14 Portsmouth N 9:33.47
21 ACE, Sammy 14 BO Southend 9:39.73
22 TANNER, Holly 14 Reading 9:40.80
— HAYDEN, Lauren 15 CO Leeds DQ
— HIRST, Rachael 14 Durham Aqua NS

Event 13 Men 100 LC Meter Freestyle
==================================================================
Name Age Team Semis Finals
==================================================================
=== Finals ===

1 COZENS, Christopher 21 Loughboro UN 49.92 49.90
2 SCOTCHER, Alexander 23 Loughboro UN 50.83 50.41
3 BURNETT, Simon 20 Wycombe Dist 51.15 50.53
4 LEITH, David 23 CO Edinburgh 51.47 51.37
5 DAVENPORT, Ross 19 Bath Univ 51.40 51.46
6 BENNETT, David 22 Beckenham 51.64 51.48
7 MEADOWS, Gavin 26 CO Leeds 51.65 51.50
8 BOOTH, Greg 22 CO Coventry 51.50 51.55

=== Semi-Finals ===

9 BOWE, Matthew 20 Bath Univ 51.68
10 SINCLAIR, Edward 23 Millfield 51.81
11 HAY, Bradley 21 Stirlingswim 51.91
12 BONE, Jonathan 20 Loughboro UN 52.10
13 SALT, Richard 20 Bath Univ 52.11
14 CARRY, David 22 Co Aberdeen 52.21
14 GIBBONS, Craig 18 Maxwell 52.21
16 MORGAN, Owen 19 Haslemere 52.62

Event 12 Women 100 LC Meter Backstroke
==================================================================
Name Age Team Semis Finals
==================================================================
=== Finals ===

1 SEXTON, Katy 21 Portsmouth N 1:01.08 1:00.49
2 PRICE, Sarah 24 Barnet Copthall 1:00.94 1:00.77
3 LEE, Karen 20 Loughboro UN 1:04.13 1:02.96
4 PROUD, Stephanie 15 Durham Aqua 1:03.46 1:03.30
5 SPOFFORTH, Gemma 16 Portsmouth N 1:04.14 1:04.07
6 WILLIAMS, Samantha 18 CO Coventry 1:04.92 1:04.18
7 WALSH, Siobhan 18 Bath Univ 1:05.68 1:05.96
8 DON DUNCAN, Helen 22 CO Coventry 1:05.61 1:06.40

=== Semi-Finals ===

9 EFFEMEY, Natalie 19 Loughboro UN 1:05.68
10 BEECHEY, Laura 18 Maxwell 1:05.84
11 CRAWLEY, Natasha 17 Middlesboro 1:06.26
12 BOYALL, Kayleigh 18 Nova Cent'n 1:06.39
13 JERVIS, Kimberley 16 CO Liverpool 1:06.49
14 BECKETT, Julia 17 Winchester 1:06.85
15 SUTHERLAND, Gemma 16 South Aberde 1:06.99
16 RANKIN, Emma 17 South Dorset 1:07.31

Event 11 Men 200 LC Meter Breaststroke
==================================================================
Name Age Team Semis Finals
==================================================================
=== Finals ===

1 EDMOND, Ian 25 CO Edinburgh 2:12.45 2:11.56
2 COOK, Christopher 24 CO Newcastle 2:19.04 2:15.47
3 FRANCIS, Robin 21 Bath Univ 2:19.27 2:15.89
4 BARTLETT, David 19 Bath Univ 2:18.99 2:18.77
5 GILCHRIST, Kristopher 20 CO Edinburgh 2:20.82 2:20.76
6 WIGHTWICK, Lee 18 Killerwhales 2:20.90 2:21.34
7 BRANCH, Mark 16 N Aryshire 2:22.08 2:21.57
8 GANNON, Joe 20 CO Salford 2:22.31 2:22.07

=== Semi-Finals ===

9 WILSON, Christopher 18 Stirlingswim 2:23.68
10 KIRTON, James 18 CO Sheffield 2:24.26
11 FACKRELL, James 18 Bath Univ 2:24.34
12 RITCHIE, Paul 17 Bath Univ 2:24.39
13 VAN DEN BROEK, Neil 24 Swim Swansea 2:26.23
14 KEEN, Matthew 20 Loughboro UN 2:26.57
15 STRACHAN, Mark 16 Oundle 2:27.94
— HAIGH, Daniel 17 Co Cardiff NS

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