Parry's search for success at longer distance

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The Independent Online

The Leeds Grand Prix begins today and will be the first 50 metre long-course competition of the year. It is the first meet in the build-up to the World Championship trials in April, and many swimmers, including a dozen of last summer's British Olympic team, will be adjusting from the short-course season, which ended last month. With fewer turns, long-course competition is the tougher racing environment and is the main focus of world swimming.

The Leeds Grand Prix begins today and will be the first 50 metre long-course competition of the year. It is the first meet in the build-up to the World Championship trials in April, and many swimmers, including a dozen of last summer's British Olympic team, will be adjusting from the short-course season, which ended last month. With fewer turns, long-course competition is the tougher racing environment and is the main focus of world swimming.

Steve Parry, a 200m butterfly finalist at the Sydney Olympics, is looking forward to his first race since taking bronze at the European short-course championships in Valencia in December. "This is the first of a couple of long-course races to get my eye in for the trials. Like everyone else, I'm still in hard training but I've come here to work on pacing and on some of the technical aspects of the race," he said.

Parry had been hoping to race his Leeds rival, James Hickman. But with Hickman away at altitude training in Arizona, and another group on Australia's Gold Coast, the head-to-head racing will have to wait until the trials. "I'd love to be racing James, but the problem with this time of year is that people are all on different agendas," he said. "A lot of swimmers are away and I'm off to Florida after this competition for three weeks myself." The World Championships will be in Japan in July.

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