Parry prevails in thrilling finale

In front of a packed crowd here last night, Steve Parry and James Hickman produced a head-to-head 200 metres butterfly race of the highest quality to set the Olympic trials alight.

In front of a packed crowd here last night, Steve Parry and James Hickman produced a head-to-head 200 metres butterfly race of the highest quality to set the Olympic trials alight.

Parry won in 1min 57.13sec with Hickman second in 1:57.46, but it was all about strength under pressure for these men, both gunning for medals in Sydney in seven weeks' time. Stroke for stroke, the pair were never more than 0.3sec apart but in the closing stages, Parry overhauled his rival and held on for victory.

"I knew I was behind for most of the race and I wanted to practise coming back strong. I've never come from behind and this is what we have been working on in training," he said.

"It's about racing more than the times this week and James has beaten me so many times at the Nationals that I wanted this. I raced well in March to set the British record and did so again here. Although these times won't scare anyone, we both know we will have to go 1:55 if we want to come home with anything, but I'll be inbetter form come the Games."

Immediately after the race, everyone wanted a piece of Parry. The drug tester wanted his urine, the physiologist took his blood for lactate testing and the media took his thoughts. It was just Hickman who was left with nothing.

Although he made all the right noises after the race, his frustration was palpable. After his victory in the 200m individual medley half an hour later, Hickman was more upbeat. "I just tried too hard on the last 30 metres and was using my legs instead of my hips. I tried to swim smart through a lot of semi-finals and finals and if I can start at 1:57 in the heats in Sydney and end up with 1:55 in the final, I will really have a chance."

The other race of the night was a tense 200m freestyle final. Karen Pickering collected her passport to Sydney to qualify for her fourth Olympics, but could not live with the strength of Karen Legg in the closing 25 metres, as Legg won in 2:00.45, with Pickering 0.22sec behind. Both are still chasing June Croft's 18-year-old record of 1:59.74 from the Brisbane Commonwealth Games.

As the rest of the field charged the wall, the prospects look good for the 4x200m team, with Nicola Jackson and Janine Belton giving a combined time some five seconds under the current British record. The British quartet shattered the world short-course record in March, and will join the men's 4x200m team as realistic medal hopes.

The seventh British record of the week fell to Ashton's Helen Don-Duncan in her semi-final of the 200m backstroke. In a storming finish, Don-Duncan took nearly a second off the previous record, finishing in a time of 2:11.73. Second, and underneath her old mark, was Bath's Jo Fargus.

Ecstatic though Don-Duncan was, she is not there yet. These times will only count if the duo finish first and second in today's final, and Portsmouth's Katy Sexton is already selected from the 100m and will therefore swim free of the pressure to qualify from the most eagerly anticipated races of the week.

Sue Rolph won the 200m individual medley and will be joined in Sydney by the 18-year-old Kathryn Evans from Nova Centurion, the second swimmer from the Nottingham squad to make the team this week.

Graeme Smith and Paul Palmer, Britain's two Olympic medallists from Atlanta, will compete in the 1500m final today and Jamaican-born Sion Brinn will join the rest of the men in a tightly packed 100m freestyle final.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves has defended fans use of the word 'Yid'
people
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West, performing in New York last week, has been the subject of controversy as rock's traditional headline slot at Glastonbury is lost once again
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living