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Last Updated: Monday, 1 November, 2004, 07:34 GMT
Westlake beats the champion
Karen Pickering and Ian Westlake
Karen Pickering
Age: 33
Height: 1.75m
Weight: 63kg
First British woman to win a world title (1993)
Awarded MBE in 1994
Commonwealth 200m free gold & 4x200m free relay gold
Ian Westlake
Age: 20
Height: 1.78m
Weight: 72kg
Made Ipswich Town debut v Gillingham in October 2002
Supporters player of the year 2003/04 (32 apps; 6 goals)
In the age-old "can women compete with men in sport" argument, an Ipswich Town footballer v British female swimmer is unlikely to have been discussed much.

But Ian Westlake laid down the gauntlet to four-times Olympian Karen Pickering and the duo met in a 50m swimming race.

Pickering, 33, was clear favourite to win the race, but to the dismay of feminists everywhere Westlake led from start to finish.

The 7/2 outsider clocked 25.21 seconds to Pickering's 25.74.

Pickering, who happens to be an Ipswich season ticket holder, conceded: "It wasn't a bad time for me. In racing anything can happen and he had a really good swim."

Westlake shaved more than a second off his personal best, which is not a reference to the aquadynamic body suit that he wore.

In truth he is no stranger to competition in the water.

Aside from a wet night at Bramall Lane or Gresty Road, he was once captain of the England schoolboys water polo team.

I think I'm owed a few apologies
Ian Westlake
"I just got away very quickly," he said of his famous victory.

"I got a bit of luck because I thought I had slowed down. I'm very happy. I think I'm owed a few apologies."

Pickering has a chance to even the contest when she takes part in a penalty shootout at half-time in Ipswich's match with Sheffield United this week.

She needs to score two out of three kicks in order to be awarded a draw and make Germaine Greer proud.

England pip Australia in thriller
01 Aug 02 |  Swimming
Golden glee for Pickering
30 Jul 02 |  Swimming

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