Tancock sets world record as Foster zips to fifth Olympics

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The Independent Online

Mark Foster drew on his vast experience by refusing to be distracted by the zip popping on his swimsuit just before the final of the 50m freestyle and going on to qualify for his fifth Olympics at the trials in Sheffield yesterday.

In an eventful session which saw three new Commonwealth records set, the zip on the 37-year-old's swimsuit popped seconds before the race and he decided to strip off and compete in the bottoms he had on underneath. He led from the front to touch in 22.30sec, ahead of national record holder Simon Burnett.

"I bent down and the zip popped at the front," he said. "But fortunately I had my old legs on underneath. I am really pleased to get the same time this morning as I did last night because I am not very good in the morning.

"There were lots of distractions. I really believe if things had gone right I could have done my best time and broken the British record."

His qualification for Beijing marks a complete turnaround in his fortunes after he failed to make the Athens Games. Foster announced he would quit international competition after the 2006 Commonwealth Games but he never officially retired and returned last year to qualify for the world short-course championships in Manchester next week.

He has always been reluctant to commit himself to the Games, but will reveal his decision in the coming days. When asked if there were any doubts as to whether he would go if chosen, he said: "Probably not."

Elsewhere, James Goddard lowered the Commonwealth 200m backstroke record set on Tuesday by Liam Tancock in the 200m individual medley.

Gregor Tait, Goddard and Tancock had lowered the British record in three successive races and here Goddard overhauled fellow backstroker Tancock to win in one minute 57.72sec – second in the world this year and fourth on the all-time list behind Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Laszlo Cseh.

Chris Cook swam into contention in the 100m breaststroke when he became the first British man to swim under 60 seconds in a new Commonwealth record time of 59.88. The 28-year-old led from the start with Kristopher Gilchrist claiming second spot.

Rebecca Adlington set a new Commonwealth mark as she lowered her own 400m free record to 4:04.50 with Jo Jackson also claiming qualification. Gemma Spofforth and 17-year-old Lizzie Simmonds qualified in the 100m backstroke.