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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 March 2008, 07:56 GMT
European Swimming Ch'ships day one
BBC Radio 5 Live's Bob Ballard
At the European Swimming Championships in Eindhoven

Greetings from Eindhoven in Holland, a place that holds fond memories for me as I saw Great Britain's ice hockey team get promoted to Pool A 15 years ago - sadly we have not reached those dizzy heights since.

Liam Tancock
Tancock failed to make the men's 100m backstroke final

This time I'm here for the European Long Course Swimming Championships.

Many people ask me what the difference is between long and short course swimming and it is simply a 50 metre pool compared to a 25m one.

What do I make it of it so far? Well the quality of competition is not bad but the organisation is abysmal.

To get the interviews you hear at big events like this, the media gathers in what is called a "mixed zone" - where the swimmers "mix" with the media, separated by a barrier.

You'd get more room on a Piccadilly Line train in London at rush hour. It makes the opening of a Harrod's sale look positively refined.

Anyway to the action in the pool which was disappointing from a British perspective.

The women's 4 x 100m freestyle relay team didn't make the final from only 10 starters, the men did but another rookie quartet could only finish seventh, and that thanks to the disqualification of the Russians.

A view of the pool in Eindhoven
The media's view of the pool is better than it is in the mixed zone
Most disappointing of all on paper was Liam Tancock's failure to make it through to Wednesday's final of the 100m backstroke after looking so good in the heats.

But Tancock has already pre-qualified for the Olympics after his medal winning performance at the World Championships last year.

He is concentrating on doing well at home in the forthcoming trials in Sheffield and the World Short Course in Manchester.

I sensed that these swims in Eindhoven were to remove any winter cobwebs and nothing to be concerned about.


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