Swimming: Cooke caps stunning sequence of records

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The Independent Online

The number of British records set at the National Short Course Championships here swelled to 14 yesterday as Rebecca Cooke added her third of the competition to bring an end to a hectic summer for the country's élite swimmers.

Cooke's record of 4min 38.18sec in the 400m individual medley was the only one of the night, an anti-climax compared to the previous day's racing, which yielded an unprecedented seven British and two Commonwealth records from 11 finals.

"I knew exactly what the record was before I got in and that was always the goal, especially after the last couple of days, which have been something else for me," Cooke said.

The weight of expectation was on the shoulders of Edinburgh's Ian Edmond last night, whose sights were set on Nick Gillingham's decade-old Commonwealth record in the 200m breaststroke after his silver medal at the World Championships in Barcelona. But a tough summer looked to have taken its toll on the 25-year-old as he could manage only 2min 08.73sec, which was 0.82sec shy of Gillingham's mark.

"I have to be disappointed because thought I had the record in me after the way I've been swimming recently. That's come off the back of a tough summer racing schedule and it didn't feel comfortable at all," he said.

Katy Sexton, the newly crowned world champion, took her second title of the competition in the 200m backstroke, leading from the start to win in 2min 07.81sec, four seconds adrift of Sarah Price's British and Commonwealth record. She put here performance down to an inability to peak again. "It's difficult getting up to race here as it's a bit of a comedown after Barcelona, but I'm happy with the way I'm swimming and I need to be attacking the races like I did there," she said.

Price, the former world record holder in the event, could only manage third place. That rounded off a miserable summer for the double Commonwealth champion after a below-par World Championships, which she attributed to over-training in the run-up to the event. "It broke my heart at the time," she said. "I was training too intensely at times and it showed in Barcelona, but I'm a tough character and I always bounce back."