Swimming: Foster and Rolph miss out on gold

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The Independent Online
Mark Foster and Susan Rolph added to Britain's medal tally in the final session of the World Short Course Championships here last night, but both could have turned them to gold. Foster had to settle for silver in the 50 metre freestyle, while Rolph took bronze in the 200m individual medley.

Foster felt he could have won after going into the final as the fastest qualifier. "I tried too hard I'm disappointed," said Foster, who was looking to recapture the short course crown he won in the inaugural championships four years ago. "I got a new training programme three months ago and now it's going to take time to adjust to it."

He led at the turn after getting his usual flying start, but lost out by his fingertips as the Venezuelan, Francisco Sanchez, completed a 50m- 100m double. The 26-year-old clocked 22.03sec. Sanchez took the title in a time of 21.80, with the Puerto Rican Ricardo Busquets in third place.

Foster later helped the 4x100m freestyle relay quartet who also included Andrew Clayton, Simon Handley and Mark Stevens finish fourth in 3:16.47, breaking the British record they set in the heats by 1.09sec.

Rolph was unable to repeat the swim that brought her the European short course title in Germany last December with a time of 2min10.60sec that leads the 1997 rankings. She finished two seconds off that pace in 2:12.39, just over a second behind the Swede Louise Karlsson who was roared on to success by the 6,000-plus home crowd in an arena which normally stages ice hockey.

Graeme Smith won a bronze medal in the 1500m in strange fashion - nine hours after completing his race. The Olympic bronze medallist was placed third after being forced to compete in a morning heat after an error by British officials. However, his time proved good enough for a medal after Ian Wilson finished third in the last heat last night, but was nearly 10 seconds slower than his fellow Briton.

James Hickman seemed set to add another medal to the gold he won in the 200m butterfly when he led the field mid-way through the 200m individual medley. But a poor breaststroke leg cost him as he slipped to seventh, before moving back up to fourth on the freestyle. He clocked 1:59.49 and lost the bronze by 0.3sec to the American, Ron Karnaugh. Australia's Matthew Dunn took gold in 1:57.46.