SWANSEA, Wales, June 20. NINETEEN years later, it’s gone. Swimming on the third day of the British last-chance qualifying meet for next month’s World Championships, Caitlin McClatchey zoomed 4:07.02 in the 400 freestyle. That time erased the 19-year-old record of Sarah Hardcastle, who held the standard at 4:07.68.
By producing the second-fastest time in the world this year, McClatchey established herself as a legitimate medal contender in Montreal, site of the World Champs. The Loughborough University student will find France’s Laure Manaudou, the reigning Olympic champ, as her primary competition next month. Jo Jackson was second to McClatchey with a time of 4:09.57.
"That gives me such confidence for the World Championships," McClatchey said. "It's just great to break the record. We were hoping to go fast next month but we didn't think we would do it here. I've not rested for the meet and life's been so hectic with the end of my first year at college and the exams that come with it. It's been my first real season at the 400, so to get the record is amazing.”
Aside from McClatchey and Jackson, Katy Sexton earned an invitation to the World Championships when she covered the 200-meter backstroke in 2:11.49. Sexton is the defending world titlist in the event and was followed to the wall by Mel Marshall, already qualified in the 200 freestyle.
Chris Cook was the winner of the men’s 100 breast, but his time of 1:01.42 was outside the qualifying standard. Darren Mew was second in the event, but had already notched a qualifying time for the World Champs earlier in the year. In the 200 backstroke, James Goddard won in 1:59.95, slightly quicker than the 2:00.00 of Gregor Tait. Mark Foster won the 50 free in 22.64, but didn’t meet the qualifying time of 22.18.
"It's the size of team that I expected and it's a strong team,” said Bill Sweetenham, the National Performance Director. “We rested too much after the Olympics but we still have a good team going to Montreal and our range of events is expanding. Britain used to be known as a breaststroke nation but that is changing.”