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).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
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

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz