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.

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
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

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Perl, Bash, SQL)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...

C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home