Swimming: Foster on retirement course

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The Independent Online

Mark Foster will swim in the Commonwealth Games, then the World Short Course Championships in Shanghai next month, before retiring.

The 35-year-old said that his decision had nothing to do with his rift with British swimming's performance director, Bill Sweetenham. Foster has been an outspoken critic of Sweetenham's methods since he was denied a place in the 2004 Olympics after missing the qualification standard by 0.05sec, but he said: "I am not giving up because of him - I am retiring on my own terms and because I think it is the right time. Now someone has got to come and fill my boots. In the last 20 years no one has come near me."

Foster will compete in the 50m butterfly and 50m freestyle in Melbourne aiming to add to his eight Commonwealth gold medals.

Sweetenham, who was the subject of an inquiry over his methods - which cleared him of any wrongdoing - said yesterday that he has changed his style - and that British swimming will suffer.

"I am not going to be prepared to put myself under that sort of pressure again, so I'll take a softer approach," he said. "I won't be able to fast-track, I'll have to be genteel. It's not the ideal approach if you want success."