Palmer leads way as Salter joins squad to Sydney

There were many beautiful bodies on show in Sheffield yesterday, but to the swimmers at least, none half as attractive as a small, fat, hairy individual with big ears and a dopey grin.

There were many beautiful bodies on show in Sheffield yesterday, but to the swimmers at least, none half as attractive as a small, fat, hairy individual with big ears and a dopey grin.

Pictures of a cartoon koala are everywhere at Ponds Forge, Olympic qualification being very much the name of the game. Last night, three who already knew they would be on the plane Down Under, Paul Palmer, Alison Sheppard and Sue Rolfe, were joined by Jamie Salter.

The 24-year-old finished second in the final of the 400m freestyle, won by Palmer in a comfortable 3min 49.61sec. Salter edged out Graeme Smith, who also went under the Olympic qualifying time.

Palmer, the silver medallist in Atlanta four years ago, said he was happy with his form as Sydney approached. "At this stage I just want to be swimming times that are respectable with a stroke that feels good. It's not about results."

Pre-selected for the 200m and 400m, he is under no pressure until the 1500m later this week, when he and Smith, the Atlanta bronze medallist at that distance, should qualify.

The mid-morning coffee was still brewing when Sheppard gave an indication of her form by breaking her own British and Commonwealth record in the 50m freestyle heats. The Milngavie swimmer touched in 25.16, taking fifteen-hundredths of a second off her best, and then lowered it further in the semi-final, to 25.12.

The defending champion, Alan Whitehead, and his predecessor Darren Mew both recorded personal bests and Olympic qualifying times in their semi-finals of the 100m breaststroke. However, they must still finish in the top two of the final for the times to count.

Palmer's Bath-based colleague Mark Foster, currently ranked sixth in the world, was also an impressive winner, recording 22.40 in his 50m freestyle semi-final.

There is real talent among the younger girls. Sixteen-year-old Nicola Jackson, dipped below the Olympic qualifying time in her heat of the 100m butterfly, recording an impressive 1.01.05, a time only bettered by 18-year-old Georgina Lee in the second semi-final. The final should be a classic.

Watching events was Bill Sweetenham, the Australian coach who arrived in England this week and who will take over from Deryk Snelling as national performance director inNovember.

One issue he will hope to sort out is the continuing bodysuit debate. Fina, world swimming's governing body, has approved the technology which goes into their manufacture, while the Amateur Swimming Federation of Great Britain (ASFGB) has allowed their use at these trials.

Whether the claims that are made of the suits - that they can improve performance by up to three per cent - are proven accurate remains to be seen. The point is that some swimmers believe them to be true.

Several, including butterfly medal prospect James Hickman, vouch for one particular make, the Speedo "Sharksuit", and wish to continue to wear it at the Games. However adidas, official kit suppliers to the British Olympic Association, do not want to see any swimmers wearing a rival brand of kit.

Speedo, who have long been sponsors of the British swimming team, are apparently prepared to make their suit in something approximating team colours, but do not see why they should remove their logo.

It sounds trivial, but the ASFGB chief executive, David Sparkes, is concerned that the row is beginning to adversely affect the preparation and state of mind of the swimmers themselves.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
Sport
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Arts and Entertainment
John Hurt will voice Prince Bolkonsky in Radio 4's War and Peace
radioRadio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial / Residential Property - Surrey

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Programme - Online Location Services Business

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior QC Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...

Recruitment Genius: Development Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Development Scientist is required to join a ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game