Sheppard, Hickman Star on Day One of British World Championship Trials

By Martin Petty

MANCHESTER, England, April 10. Atlanta Olympics silver medalist Paul Palmer of Bath University narrowly missed selection for the World Championships in the 400m freestyle. Palmer, who took the bronze medal at the last World Championships in Perth, registered a time of 3.51.82 seconds – 1.02 seconds short of the British qualifying standard.

Palmer’s miss comes seven months after Britain enlisted the support of former Australian Olympic coach Bill Sweetenham, assigned to pick up the pieces of a sport left in ruins after Britain’s disappointing performance in Sydney last year.

No-nonsense Sweetenham has enforced a stringent selection policy in Manchester, where only potential finalists at the Fukuoka World Championships will be selected. Qualifying times equate to twelfth place in the world rankings. In several events, national records must be achieved in order to qualify.

Sprinter Alison Sheppard looks bound for Japan after a
rapid semi final swim in the women’s 50m freestyle. The twenty eight year old from Scotland finished in a time of 25.13 seconds, one hundredth off her British record and comfortably inside the qualifying standard. Also inside the time was Loughborough University student Rosalind Brett – seven years Sheppard’s junior – who finished in a new English record of 25.41 seconds.

Former World Short Course record holder James Hickman
cruised into tomorrow's 100 butterfly final in a time of 53.65. He will be joined by Olympic finalist Stephen Parry of Stockport Metro who qualified second in 54.28 seconds.
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