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The Independent Online
Sarah Potton scythes through the water in heat two of the women's 400 metres individual medley at the Amateur Swimming Association's National Championships at Crystal Palace yesterday.

Karen Pickering, the former world short course champion, looked set to achieve the qualifying time for next month's European Championships in Seville after winning her heat. The 26-year-old from Ipswich, forced the pace over the first 100 metres of her 200m freestyle heat in 58.88sec and finished in 2min 02.38sec.

Andrew Clayton, the British short course record holder, is another searching for an individual swim in Spain. In yesterday morning's heat he cruised to a 1:53.65 victory in the 200m freestyle heats but to clinch a place in Seville he has to shave more than three and a half seconds off that time and finish ahead of Gavin Meadows, the fastest qualifier, and James Salter, a member of the 4x 200m freestyle relay that finished fifth at last summer's Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Stephen Parry, of Liverpool, caused the upset at last April's European Championship trials when he beat the British record holder, James Hickman, in the 100 and 200m butterfly.

At Crystal Palace Parry was the quicker of the two swimmers in the 100m race. His time of 55.16sec was 0.83 ahead.

In third place was Mike Watkins of Torfaen, in 55.92sec, which took 0.04sec off the Welsh record he established two years ago.