Palmer takes the silver

OLYMPIC GAMES

After four days of the Olympics Britain has got a medal at last. Just when it seemed the Union Jack would never make an appearance at a victory ceremony during the Centennial Games, Paul Palmer got a silver in the 400 metres freestyle.

The 21-year-old from Lincoln was ranked only sixth in the world and qualified sixth for the final but once he got there he upset the form completely. Indeed, during the last 100 metres, there was even a hint he might get the gold but he was beaten at the finish by New Zealand's Danyon Loader.

Palmer was never out of the medal positions from the start. At 100 and 200 metres he was third but as Daniel Kowalski faded, he got stronger, touching just behind Loader, who also won the 200m free. He was ahead briefly but could not sustain a ferocious pace, clocking 3:49.00. The winning time was 3:47.97.

Palmer's first thought was to his house which was burgled the last time he was at a major competion, the European Championships in Vienna last year. "To anyone listening," he said, "my mother and father are here but my brother and sister are looking after my home. That's for anyone thinking of doing it over while I'm here.

"I've never been as nervous as I was before that race," he added. "I just got in and gave it everything I could. I didn't have that much left on the last length but a silver medal, you can't complain.

"Straight away it felt so different from this morning [in the heats], it felt so comfortable. I wasn't kicking at all. I got to 100 and had a look around and saw only another couple of other guys with me and I started to think, yes you can do this.

"I just carried on trying and trying. Danyon went away from me at one of the turns, but it worked so well in the end. I've worked and worked for this. I couldn't tell you how much work I've done."

When told it was the first medal Britain had achieved in the Games, Palmer added: "I couldn't care if it's the last medal. I've got a medal that's all I'm bothered about."

Palmer has been used as a guinea pig in training with a device that issues a metronomic note to guide the pace of his stroke. "I would like to thank Patrick Miley who invented it. It certainly contributed to the silver. It's hard to describe how I'm feeling. I know second is not as good as first but at the moment it feels great. My best is yet to come in four years' time in Sydney."

Palmer apart there has been little to set red, white and blue pulses racing but if they were giving out gongs for the most underwhelming performance of them all then the men in the 100m backstroke yesterday would be among the leading contenders.

In Neil Willey and Martin Harris Britain had the third and sixth fastest men in the world this year yet those performances looked misleading one- offs when they failed to reach the final by a margin as big as the question mark over the team's preparation.

Willey, a silver medallist in the World Short Course Championships last year, finished a dismal fifth in his heat with a time of 56.27sec that was more than a second slower than his personal best. Harris, the British record holder, was even worse with 57.17 and finished 26th overall.

"I don't know what was wrong," Willey said. "I wasn't ready mentally or physically. I will have to sit down with my coach and work it out."

The male backstroke swimmers were not alone in their disapppointment. Caroline Foot was more than a second outside her best with 1:03.04 in the 100m butterfly while Marie Hardiman finished sixth in her heat for the women's 200m breaststroke.

South Africa's Penelope Heynes, meanwhile, is cutting through records. Having set a world mark for the 100 metres breaststroke on Sunday, she added an Olympic record with for the 200m breaststroke with 2.26.63 before going on to take the gold medal in the evening's final.

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Kellie Bright as Linda Carter and Danny Dyer as Mick Carter

EastEnders Christmas specials are known for their shouty, over-the-top soap drama but tonight the show has done itself proud thanks to Danny Dyer.

Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Sport
sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there