Sweetenham prepares to face the flak after the failures

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The Independent Online

"We have had a very good preparation and the coaches have done an outstanding job," he said. "We dotted every 'i' and crossed every 't'." However, with only Caitlin McClatchey's 400metres freestyle bronze to show for their efforts, compared to eight medals at the last World Championships in Barcelona in 2003, the heat is on with just two days of competition to go.

Long distance hopes David Davies and Rebecca Cooke both fly the British flag today. Cooke reached the 800m freestyle final in the fourth quickest qualifying time while Davies starts his 1500m freestyle heats, determined to repeat or better the bronze medal he won in Athens 12 months ago. Davies admits the British team are under pressure but insists he is ready for the challenge of changing the tide.

"I like these big race situations, it is when I produce my best," he said. "I am calm and relaxed and I am a little bit more experienced after Athens last year." Defending world and Olympic champion Grant Hackett will be the scalp Davies wants - although he is unbeaten in eight years. However, the veteran Australian believes the Swansea-based swimmer has a big future.

He said: "He is a talent for sure. You don't swim the sort of times he did in Athens without being a very special swimmer. "It was his first Olympic final and he was fastest qualifier. He went out there and knocked 10 seconds off his personal best. That makes him a very special prospect."