Reward in the relay for Palmer

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Paul Palmer, who came so close to retiring through disillusionment, continued to rediscover the joy of swimming at the World Short Course Championships in Gothenburg last night.

Palmer, who won Britain's first medal at last year's Olympic Games, nearly claimed their first individual success on a night of near-misses, but he did collected a relay bronze.

Just a couple of month's ago Palmer's appearance at the event was in doubt as he pulled out of a training camp in Australia just before the plane was due to take off at Heathrow. He was dispirited after his silver medal in the 400m freestyle in Atlanta had failed to bring any increase in his financial backing.

Palmer reconsidered his decision and the move to the 50m pool at the University of Bath, where his coach, Ian Turner, is based, revived his love of the sport. That lack of training told last night when he faded to fourth in an exciting 400m freestyle race having taken the lead with less than 100m to go.

Palmer's time of 3min 43.90sec sliced 0.13 off the British record he set in another Swedish setting in Malmo in 1993, as Denmark's Jacob Carstensen won in 3:43.44.

Palmer made up for his narrow failure by helping the 4x200m freestyle relay team to take the bronze medal. It was James Salter who snatched the bronze in the final metres as he beat his German rivals with by 0.09sec.

Results, Digest, page 31