Swimming: British records fall as trio set a new gold standard

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The Independent Online
James Hickman, Mark Foster and Susan Rolph all won gold medals on the final day of the opening World Cup meet in Sydney yesterday.

Hickman beat the Russian world record-holder Vladimar Selkov to victory in the 200 metres backstroke in a time of 1min 54.58sec, which also broke the British record. The Stockport-based swimmer, who set a new British record in the 200m butterfly on Wednesday, also managed second place in the 100m butterfly in 51.40 - a new European and British record.

Foster broke his own Commonwealth and British records in winning the 50m freestyle, despite having to take part in a swim-off to reach the final. Placed in lane eight, Foster surged past the world champion, Russia's Alexander Popov, to record the third-fastest time in history of 21.57sec, just 0.07 off the world record.

Rolph took the 100m individual medley in a new Commonwealth record of 1:01.26, narrowly missing the world mark.

The British team ended the event, the first of nine rounds to be completed by the end of March, with four gold medals, four silver and three bronze, plus a host of personal bests and new British records.

Deryk Snelling, Britain's national performance director, was delighted with the team's achievements over the two days, which have gone some way to easing the disappointment of last week's World Championships in Perth.

"These last four weeks have been great experience for our athletes and staff, and will help us enormously on the road to the Olympic Games," he said.

Paul Palmer, who won two bronze medals at the World Championships, took silver in the 800m freestyle, while teenager Sarah Price smashed the British record on her way to second place in the 100m backstroke.