Swimming: Hickman reclaiming authority with butterfly win

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The Independent Online
James Hickman took advantage of Stephen Parry's jet-lag to begin re-establishing his domestic dominance in the British Championships at Ponds Forge in Sheffield yesterday.

The Stockport Metros swimmer won his 100 metres butterfly confrontation with Parry, who had to settle for third place after only arriving on an overnight flight from his base in Florida early yesterday morning.

Parry, who beat Hickman twice when they met in last summer's European trials, had won his heat within three hours of landing at Manchester Airport but was never a threat in the final.

Hickman, who clinched his selection for next month's World Championships in Australia in the 200m butterfly last night, led from the start to win in 53.76sec.

Bolton's Robert Greenwood was second in 55.11 with the Liverpool swimmer Parry, the European 200m butterfly bronze medallist who trains at Florida State University, nearly two seconds adrift with a time of 55.44.

Parry, though, was already assured of his selection for the worlds - which begin in just over a month - and had opted not to return in time for last night's 200m event as he prepares for Perth.

The second day of the championships at the Ponds Forge pool, in which the vast majority of the Australia-bound team have already qualified, did bring two British records.

Bath University's Darren Mew celebrated his 18th birthday in style by breaking James Parrack's five-year-old 50m breaststroke record by 0.05sec with a winning time of 28.58.

And Ashton's Helen Don-Duncan sliced nearly a tenth of a second off the 200m backstroke mark established at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona by Joanne Deakins, third in today's final, with victory in 2min 13.82sec.

"I was expecting to beat the record, but not here," said the 16-year- old A level student, who had already qualified for Perth. "I had not tapered down my training or anything."

Two Welsh records were also set by swimmers finishing fourth in their final. Phil Melhuish did so in the 50m breaststroke with a new mark of 29.59 while his Swansea team-mate, Chris Jones, lowered his own 100m backstroke record to 58.59.

"There was a mix-up on my flight because I was hoping to get back to Britain a couple of days ago," Parry said. "I think the effects of the long flight showed a bit.

"I didn't land until 8.15 this morning and I was swimming by 10 o'clock. I tried not to think about it and just get on with the race.

"But if I can do 55.44 when I am that tired and have not shaved and rested then it shows that the training is going well and that I should go a lot faster in Perth."