By Craig Lord
SHEFFIELD, England. July 26. DARREN Mew leapt 28 places to ninth on the world rankings to qualify for
his first Olympic Games at Ponds Forge pool in Sheffield, England, his 1min 01.78sec and three British records elsewhere were symptomatic of the new
dawn of which Deryk Snelling, national performance director, has spoken of with so much feeling of late.
Mew's performance at the Olympic trials might have had others performing back flips, but the 20-year-old, who is coached by Ian Turner at the University of Bath, was keen to play down the fact that Adrian
Moorhouse raced to victory at the 1988 Olympic Games in 1:02.04sec. Only Moorhouse and Nick Gillingham, national record holder and another Olympic medal winner, had swum inside 1min 02sec before Mew.
"It'll take a lot more to do anything special out in Sydney. To make the final would be great," said Mew, who has come on in leaps and bounds since moving to the center of excellence at Bath which is also home to Palmer and Foster, among others.
Chasing him into the wall Adam Whitehead, whose 1:02.29sec was good enough to take him to Sydney, representing not only a best time but confirmation that the 20-year-old 200m specialist from Coventry is on course for something special later in the week.
The breaststroke rivals were among five additions to the British Olympic team. Porstmouth Northsea coach Chris Nesbitt celebrated as Margaretha Pedder and Simon Militis swam to victories one after the other.
Militis, 22, was in a class of his own, racing lonely ahead of the pack on his way to a British record of 4mins 20.07sec in the 400m medley. Pedder, 20, clocked 1:00.74sec over 100m butterfly. There were no second
qualifiers, however, standards having been set high, based on 8th place at the world championships in 1998 and 12th place at the Olympic Games in 1996.
In the 50m freestyle, Mark Foster, 30, of the University of Bath, and pre-selected Alison Sheppard, 28 and from Glasgow, raced a touch slower than they had in semi-finals but confirmed themselves as medal hopes in Sydney. Susan Rolph, of Newcastle, raced in a touch behind Sheppard, though may choose not to race the distance at the Games. Foster clocked 22.42sec, with Sheppard at 25.20sec.
The other two British records fell in semi-finals. Heidi Earp, 19, broke the 100m breaststroke standard in 1min 09.92sec, 0.47sec inside Suki Brownsdon's 1987 time, while Sarah Price, 21, of Barnet Copthall, clocked 1:01.93sec over 100m backstroke to qualify just 0.03sec ahead of Katy Sexton, 18, of Portsmouth, who had held the national record at 1:02.16sec.
To qualify for the Games, all thee women must repeat their efforts in the finals.