Swimming: Smith's solo effort brings record

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The Independent Online
Ireland's Olympic gold medalist Michelle Smith set the European short-course record in the 200-metre butterfly in Cork but failed in her attempt at the world mark. Smith, who tried last month to break the world mark, clocked 2min 7.04sec, eclipsing the old mark of 2:07.18. The world mark is 2:05.65 by the American Mary T Meagher in 1981. The controversial Irish swimmer went for the record all alone in the 25-metre pool as part of a local promotion. Smith, who competes in the European championships in Seville, Spain later this month, said: "I'm elated with breaking the European record. I knew straight away that was good enough for Seville. I didn't really expect to do the 2.05 today. I still think that I can break that record. I'm improving every time at this race." Smith said she has entered six events in Spain, but is unlikely to swim them all, probably dropping the 400m and 800m freestyle. Smith shocked the swimming world by winning three gold medals and a bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

She took the 400m freestyle, 200m individual medley and 400m individual medley, and was third in the 200m butterfly. Smith's performances prompted allegations that she had used performance-enhancing drugs, charges which she has repeatedly denied.