Swimming: Francis faces Commonwealth wait while Foster retains his freestyle title

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The Independent Online

Six days of racing looked to have taken its toll on the swimmers yesterday in Manchester, the only record-free night of the British Championships.

Robin Francis faces an anguishing wait to see if he will figure in the England team for this summer's Commonwealth Games. The 19-year-old from the University of Bath secured two individual medley titles earlier in the Championships and was the first-placed Englishman behind the Scot, Ian Edmond, in the 200 metres breaststroke last night. Edmond defended his title in 2min14.23sec, 0.80sec ahead of Francis, who awaits the announcement by the national performance director, Bill Sweetenham, later today.

"I'm not really in the best shape here and I haven't been feeling great for quite a while," said Francis, who was voted best newcomer after his medal-winning debut at the European Short Course Championships in Antwerp five months ago. "I'll just have to wait and see if Bill will include me in the team. It's out of my hands now."

Sharron Davies' British 400m individual medley record from the Moscow Olympic Games remains untouched after Glasgow's Holly Fox successfully retained her title, despite a late challenge from her training partner Rebecca Cooke in the closing stages. Fox's 4.50.34 was more than two seconds clear of Cooke, but posed no threat to the 22-year-old record of 4.46.83.

A jaded Mark Foster was pushed all the way by the American-trained Matthew Kidd, nine-years his junior, in the 50m freestyle final. Foster duly defended his crown in 22.51sec, 0.26sec ahead of the 23-year-old Kidd, a student at Auburn University in Alabama. "I was pleased with that considering that I've just competed in two championships, back to back," Foster said.

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