Swimming: Hickman sets second record in 24 hours to prove fitness

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James Hickman broke a national record for the second time in the space of 24 hours on the final day of the British Championships in Sheffield yesterday.

The 21-year-old took nearly two seconds off the 10-year-old 400 metres individual medley mark held by John Davey - having beaten the 200m individual medley record yesterday.

Hickman's time of 4min 22.24sec, giving him his fourth victory of the championships, was just outside the qualifying time for next month's World Championships in Perth, Australia.

But the Stockport Metros swimmer, who missed last summer's Europeans through illness, is unlikely to have taken up the place, concentrating instead on the two butterfly events.

On Saturday, Hickman produced a World Championship qualifying performance in the 200m individual medley when he shattered the British record.

Hickman, who had qualified for next month's worlds in the 100m and 200m butterfly on the previous two days, completed the hat-trick to prove he is back to his best form after illness.

Hickman took 0.46sec off the nine-year-old mark set by Scotland's Neil Cochran with a comfortable victory in 2 min 2.74 sec on the penultimate day of the British Championships at the Ponds Forge pool.

The world short course 200m butterfly champion, who missed last summer's Europeans with a stomach bug, will clearly be one of Britain's medal hopes in Perth in four weeks' time on this showing.

Hickman has been forced to chase qualifying times because he missed the trip to Seville, but has risen to the challenge with aplomb despite recently parting company from his coach, Dave Calleja.

The veteran Caroline Foot responded to the growing threat from the new generation of teenage swimmers with a record-breaking display in the 50m butterfly.

The 32-year-old from York, who will compete in the medley relay in Perth, erased Newcastle swimmer Susan Rolph's record, set last March, by just 0.03sec as she added to her triumph in the previous day's 100m butterfly.

- Ian Gordon