Swimming: Foster leads Games team for fifth time

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The Independent Online

Mark Foster, who will swim at his fifth Games, led the way when the British Olympic Association announced a 35-strong Great Britain squad for this summer's Olympics in Beijing.

The announcement came at the conclusion of the British Championships in Sheffield, which have doubled as the Olympic trials. The world championship silver medallist Kirsty Balfour (200 metres breaststroke), world backstroke triple bronze medallist Liam Tancock (100m backstroke) and Olympic and world bronze medallist David Davies (1500m freestyle) were all pre-selected but the remainder were chosen following the trials.

It was a highly successful week at Ponds Forge which witnessed a world record courtesy of Tancock, two European records, nine Commonwealth and 24 British records. It also saw Foster qualify for his fifth Olympics.

"The team has a good mixture of youth and experience," the national performance director Michael Scott said. "I am very pleased for the swimmers in terms of the records that have been broken and the fast times that have been posted this week but I am especially happy for the coaches that work with the athletes on a daily basis to get those results.

"The key thing is for us to maintain the momentum we have been building going into this competition. We have made a significant step but we need to continue our good work from now until Beijing."

Foster – at 37 the oldest on the team – qualified in the 50m freestyle and although he has been reluctant to commit himself to travelling to Beijing unless he could be competitive, he admits he would be "stupid" not to compete. He said: "I am obviously ecstatic to have met the selection criteria and be able to go to my fifth Olympic Games.

"I knew roughly what times I was going to be able to make here and I would be stupid not to take my place on this year's Olympic squad. I have set my fastest times in five years and I am beginning to start tweaking my programme to help me go even faster. I now have four months to get it right."

In Columbus, Ohio, a recharged Michael Phelps shot to victory in the 400m individual medley at the Columbus Grand Prix on Saturday, after earlier pulling out of the 400 freestyle when he fell asleep on the diving tower.

The world record holder in the event clocked 4min 13.73sec to easily beat his team-mate Erik Vendt, who had posted the fastest time in the heats.

With Phelps exhausted from a brutal training schedule, coaches pulled the 22-year-old out of the 400 free to allow him to concentrate on the individual medley.

Phelps, who swam three finals in 52 minutes on Friday, was due to wrap up the meet with the 100m freestyle last night.

Representing Britain in Beijing

Men

50m freestyle: Mark Foster (University of Bath).

200m freestyle: Ross Davenport (Loughborough University); Robert Renwick (City of Aberdeen).

400m freestyle: David Carry (City of Aberdeen); Dean Milwain (Loughborough).

1500m freestyle: David Davies (Loughborough); Richard Charlesworth (Hatfield).

100m backstroke: Liam Tancock (Loughborough); Gregor Tait (City of Edinburgh).

200m backstroke: Tait, James Goddard (Loughborough).

100m breaststroke: Chris Cook (City of Newcastle); Kristopher Gilchrist (City of Edinburgh).

200m breaststroke: Gilchrist; James Kirton (City of Sheffield).

100m butterfly: Michael Rock (Stockport Metro); Todd Cooper (Stirling).

200m butterfly: Rock.

200m individual medley: Goddard, Tancock (both Loughborough).

400m ind medley: Thomas Haffield (City of Cardiff); Euan Dale (Loughborough).

4x200m freestyle relay: Ross Davenport (Loughborough), Renwick, David Carry (City of Aberdeen), Andrew Hunter (Stirling); Ben Hockin (Swansea Performance).

Women

50m freestyle: Fran Halsall (City of Liverpool).

100m freestyle: Caitlin McClatchey (Loughborough); Halsall.

200m freestyle: McClatchey; Rebecca Adlington (Nova Centurion).

400m freestyle: Adlington; Jo Jackson (Derwentside).

800m freestyle: Adlington.

100m backstroke: Gemma Spofforth (Portsmouth Northsea); Elizabeth Simmonds (Lincoln Vulcans).

200m backstroke: Spofforth; Simmonds.

100m breaststroke: Kate Haywood (Loughborough); Kirsty Balfour (City of Edinburgh).

200m breaststroke: Balfour.

100m butterfly: Halsall; Jemma Lowe (Borough of Stockton).

200m butterfly: Lowe; Ellen Gandy (Beckenham).

200m individual medley: Hannah Miley (Garioch); Keri-Anne Payne (Stockport Metro).

400m individual medley: Miley; Payne.

4x100m freestyle relay: McClatchey; Halsall; Julia Beckett (Loughborough); Jessica Sylvester (Nova Centurion).

4x200m freestyle relay: McClatchey, Adlington; Jackson; Mel Marshall (Loughborough), Halsall.

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