Swimming: Gillingham takes the honours

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NICK GILLINGHAM is back in top form after two outstanding performances in the breaststroke event at the Mycil national championships here.

Yesterday he came within a quarter of a second of his best time in the 200 metres breaststroke, the event for which he won a bronze medal, Britain's only swimming medal, at last year's Olympic Games.

His 2min 11.56sec was second only to his time in Spain last summer, and far outstripped anything else achieved in the world so far this year. But he quickly came back to earth, remembering what happened to him last summer when he was the fastest in the world going into the Games, but sustained a groin injury and ended up seventh in the 100m breaststroke and came one place lower in the 200m than he had finished four years earlier.

Gillingham dismissed any suggestions that, after his performances this weekend, he would win both the 100m and 200m breaststroke at the forthcoming European championships, which are to be held here in seven weeks' time. 'I'm cynical when it comes to racing] I could get knocked down tomorrow,' he said.

Marie Hardiman and Martin Harris had mixed fortunes when winning their respective races. Hardiman, Gillingham's Birmingham team-mate, missed the English record by just 0.02sec when winning the 200m breaststroke in 2min 33.18sec. Harris sliced nearly one second off his own British mark when successfully defending his 100m backstroke title in 55.92sec. 'I know I can go faster still,' he said.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 29