Dominating Hickman sets sights on Olympic medal

James Hickman was back to his best form on the final day of the British Olympic trials here yesterday, dominating the 100 metres butterfly final to equal his British record of 52.87sec.

James Hickman was back to his best form on the final day of the British Olympic trials here yesterday, dominating the 100 metres butterfly final to equal his British record of 52.87sec.

"It has been a busy week with nine swims in four days, so to swim as well as that in the final here is good," he said. "The plan was to go easy over the first 50m and then come back in under 28 seconds. In Sydney I will have to go out faster, and now I have the confidence to hold on," he said.

The time puts Hickman sixth in the world, but to win a medal in this event in Sydney, he will have to go out more than half a second faster than he did last night. With his confidence as high as it is, he should do it.

The question will be whether, after a difficult year, he has the strength to hold on at that speed.

Hickman's father passed away at the beginning of the year and it took a toll on him. "This year has been very tiring mentally, but I feel revived meet by meet, and am happier and bubblier. I just take it race by race and it helps me focus to do that. It's more fun now; the old James is back."

Also back is Karen Pickering, who set a personal best in winning the 100m freestyle in 55.58sec. Alison Sheppard set the early pace but Pickering found another gear to accelerate through the field in the closing stages. Since fracturing a bone in her back in a car accident in 1996, Pickering has struggled to produce her best.

"It was so frustrating to be trapped in a body that couldn't do the work. But I have been doing some solid work this year, which has set me up mentally, so when I stand on the block I know I am the fittest I have ever been. I knew Alison would go out fast and I just wanted to stay relaxed and feed off her on the way back." Pickering, 28, joins the pre-selected Sue Rolph in the event in Sydney, for her third Olympic Games.

Also qualifying for their third Olympics, was a relieved Jaime King and Adam Ruckwood. King was involved in a tough 200m breaststroke battle with Heidi Earp, the winner of the 100m, but kept her stroke together in the final 50 metres to win in 2min 29.95sec.

Ruckwood, too, was put under pressure from Ports-mouth's Simon Militis. At the touch, Ruckwood stopped the clock in 2:00.51, just 0.24sec ahead of his rival, who sneaked under the qualifying time.

But for Ruckwood's team-mate Graeme Smith, it has been a devastating weekend. On Saturday, Smith failed to make the team in the 1500m, finishing third. The Olympic bronze medallist in the event will be selected in the 4 x 200 relay squad, and will have to watch Paul Palmer and Adam Faulkner competing in the race in which he had hoped to win a second Olympic medal.

The 17-year-old Rebecca Cooke will be one of the youngest swimmers making the trip to Sydney and can continue her progression up the rankings of the 800m freestyle. Cooke won the event here by five seconds, finishing in 8:39.18.

In the men's 100m freestyle, just over half a second separated all eight finalists. The race was won by Mark Stevens, who stormed through the field to win in 50.44sec, just outside the Olympic qualifying time.

"I just went for it, it's paid off. If the selectors want to send me [to Sydney] they'll send me, I'm the fastest in the country now. It's up to them," Stevens said.

Helen Don Duncan claimed her second British record when winning the 200m backstroke in 2:11.25, a 0.48sec improvement.

GB OLYMPIC SQUAD NOMINATIONS

Swimmers who will be nominated to the BOA, which will announce the squad tomorrow are:

MEN

Mark Foster (50m freestyle), Paul Palmer (200, 400, 1500m freestyle), Jamie Salter (200, 400m freestyle), Adam Faulkner (1500m freestyle), Adam Ruckwood (100, 200m backstroke), Simon Militis (200m backstroke, 400m IM), Darren Mew (100m breaststroke), Adam Whitehead (100, 200m breaststroke), James Hickman (100, 200m butterfly, 200 IM), Steve Parry (200m butterfly). Relay teams: Mark Stevens, Paul Belk, Anthony Howard, Sion Brinn, Nick Hackell, Matthew Kidd (4x100m), Edward Sinclair, Marc Spackman, Andrew Clayton, Graeme Smith (4x200m).

WOMEN

Alison Sheppard (50m freeestyle), Sue Rolph (100m freestyle, 200m IM), Karen Pickering (100, 200m freestyle), Karen Legg (200m freestyle), Rebecca Cooke (800m freestyle), Sarah Price (100m backstroke), Katy Sexton (100m backstroke), Helen Don Duncan (200m backstroke), Jo Fargus (200m backstroke), Heidi Earp (100m breaststroke), Jaime King (200m breaststroke), Margaretha Pedder (100, 200m butterfly), Georgina Lee (200m butterfly). Relay teams: Rolph, Pickering, Rosalind Brett, Claire Huddart (4x100m), Legg, Nicola Jackson, Janine Belton, Vicky Horner (4x200m).

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Manager - £50,000

£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game