Swimming: British bronze medals

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The Independent Online
KAREN PICKERING and the men's medley relay team both picked up bronze medals for Britain as the Chinese set a flurry of world records on the opening day of the inaugural world short-course championships in Palma, Majorca, yesterday.

Four world marks were set in the night's eight finals, three of them by Chinese women.

At least Britain's medal winners could celebrate national records. Pickering broke June Croft's 11-year hold on the British mark for the women's 100 metres freestyle when finishing third behind China's Le Jingyi, who took the gold in a world record of 53.01sec.

Pickering, from Ipswich, who won three bronze medals at the European championships in August, recorded 54.39 in the final to lower by a further 0.29sec the British record she had set in the morning's heats of 54.68.

'I hope this does not sound big-headed but it never occurred to me that I wouldn't swim well here because I have been swimming so well in training and I felt really strong,' Pickering said.

Nick Gillingham, the European champion, provided the inspiration for the medley relay bronze with a brilliant breaststroke leg of 59.93, the first time he has gone under 60sec for 100m. Martin Harris (backstroke), Mike Fibbens (butterfly) and Mark Foster (freestyle) also played their part in a British record of 3min 37.27sec. The United States claimed the world record when their men took the gold in that event in 3:32.57.

There were also world records for China's Dai Guohong in the women's 400m individual medley, 4:29.00, and by the Chinese quartet in the women's 4x200m freestyle, 7:52.45.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 43