Swimming: Hickman reels in records

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The Independent Online
James Hickman rounded off his hectic schedule at the Uncle Ben's Winter Challenge by breaking two English records and a British mark within the space of 10 minutes in Sheffield yesterday.

Hickman, who had lowered his own British 200 metres butterfly record in Friday's heats and then collected that title and the 400m medley crown on Saturday, quickly claimed two more victories in last night's final session.

The 19-year-old took the 200m medley championship in 2min 78sec, a time which reduced by half-a-second the English record set six years ago by Grant Robins. Then, having hardly had time to regain his breath, Hickman was back in the water 10 minutes later for the 100m butterfly final. However, he still proved too strong for the opposition winning in 53.79sec, eight hundredths of a second inside the British record he set at Cumbernauld last month.

Hickman, who is working on a new stroke technique, said: "Even though I haven't shaved or tapered at all [for this meet], I was pretty confident I was going to some personal bests here because I have just come off some really hard work, and I always seem to rise to the big occasion."

Hickman's Stockport Metro club-mate, Graeme Smith, lowered his Scottish record, finishing third behind Paul Palmer in the 400m freestyle final.

Smith cut half a second off the mark he set last month with 3:50.08, but was still four-and-half seconds behind Palmer, whose time of 3:45.45 was the second fastest in the world this year.