Swimming: Hardcastle splashes out with gold

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The Independent Online

Sarah Hardcastle raced to a 800m freestyle gold medal success at the World Short Course Championships in Rio de Janeiro last night. Hardcastle, who claimed silver and bronze medals at the 1984 Olympics, sprinted home in 8min 26.46sec - 0.57sec ahead of her Dutch rival, Carla Geurts.

After her victory, Hardcastle paid tribute to her husband, Lee, who encouraged her to make a comeback after a six- year lay-off. "Lee and I have been through a lot and this makes up for it," she said.

Karen Pickering, the defending champion, lost her title, but put up a fighting performance to win the B final of the 200m freestyle. She finished in 2:01.13, just 0.01sec ahead of Greece's Antonia Machera. Following the withdrawal of Germany's Franziska van Almsick, Claudia Poll of Costa Rica took gold in a world-record time of 1:55.42.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 27