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Page last updated at 09:47 GMT, Wednesday, 2 April 2008 10:47 UK

Foster through to fifth Olympics

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Foster suffered a wardrobe malfunction before his race

BRITISH SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Venue: Pond's Forge, Sheffield Date: Monday, 31 March to Sunday, 6 April
Coverage: BBC Sport website & BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra from 0955 BST


Veteran Mark Foster has qualified for his fifth Olympic Games after winning the 50m freestyle final at the British Championships in Sheffield.

The six-time world short-course champion recorded 22.29 seconds in Tuesday's heats and 22.30 in the final.

The 37-year-old finished ahead of Simon Burnett (22.38), who failed to qualify.

Foster said: "I'm really pleased to get the same time this morning as I did last night because as I've said before I'm not very good in the mornings."

He had been the only swimmer to reach the 50m freestyle qualifying time on Tuesday, and needed a top-two finish in the final to secure his Beijing place.

Burnett missed out after failing to meet the FINA 'A' time in the heats.

Foster announced his intention to quit international competition after the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

COMMENT
Former Olympic bronze medallist Steve Parry
But instead he returned to competition last summer to claim both the 50m butterfly and 50m freestyle titles at the national championships.

He said after his heat that he would delay a final decision on whether to travel to Beijing until next week.

But on Wednesday he sounded upbeat, saying that he would have got close to the British record if he had not struggled with his swimsuit seconds before the gun went.

"I had my suit done up, I went down to do my toes but the suit popped open at the front," Foster told BBC 5 Live Sports Extra after being forced to race in the bottoms he had on underneath his suit.

"I'm not saying the suit makes oodles of difference but I really think that if things had gone right this morning I might have got near the British record."

When asked if he had any doubts over going to Beijing, Foster added: "Probably not."

Northampton swimmer Matt Tutty took the bronze medal, finishing behind Foster and Burnett with a time of 22.46, having qualified as the third fastest in the heats.

Wednesday's other finals saw James Goddard, Chris Cook and Rebecca Adlington set new Commonwealth records in the mens 200m individual medley, men's 100m breaststroke and women's 400m freestyle respectively.

Goddard clocked 1:57.72, passing his Loughborough team-mate Liam Tancock (1:57.96) in the final metres as the British record fell for the fourth successive race.

The time elevates the 25-year-old Goddard to second in the world this year and fourth on the all-time list behind Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Laszlo Cseh.

I've had such a ropey 18 months of under-performing so that is the one we've been looking for

Chris Cook
Goddard said: "I'm really happy. I knew after the heats I would have a good chance (if I was challenging) on the freestyle.

Tancock added 200m medley qualification to his place in the 100m backstroke for Beijing.

Adlington's 400m freestyle time of 4:04.50 was the fourth best in the world this year, with Jo Jackson finishing second in 4:08.75 to join her in the team for Beijing.

"It felt better yesterday but I am happy with that and I will take it," said Adlington, who is more of an 800m freestyle swimmer.

"I never thought about the 400 but I would love to go to the Olympics and make the final."

Cook's time of 59.88secs - the fourth best in the world this year - made him the first British swimmer to break the one-minute barrier in the 100m breaststroke.

"I've had such a ropey 18 months of under-performing so that is the one we've been looking for," said the City of Newcastle swimmer.

Kristopher Gilchrist (1:01.06) took second behind Cook to deny former world 50m breaststroke champion James Gibson, who had gone fastest in the heats.

Gemma Spofforth (59.90) went under one minute for the second time in 24 hours as she finished ahead of Lizzie Simmonds (1:00.66) in the women's 100m backstroke.

That means there is as yet no room on the team for Mel Marshall, who was excluded from Tuesday's 100m freestyle final, or former world 200m backstroke champion Katy Sexton.

Beijing qualifiers to date:
*Already nominated to Team GB by British Swimming

Men
*David Davies - 1500m
*Liam Tancock - 100m backstroke, 200m individual medley
Mark Foster - 50m freestyle
Gregor Tait - 100m backstroke
David Carry - 400m freestyle
Dean Milwain - 400m freestyle
James Goddard - 200m individual medley
Chris Cook - 100m breaststroke
Kristopher Gilchrist - 100m breaststroke

Women
*Kirsty Balfour - 200m breaststroke
Caitlin McClatchey - 100m freestyle
Fran Halsall - 100m freestyle
Jemma Lowe - 200m butterfly
Ellen Gandy - 200m butterfly
Rebecca Adlington - 400m freestyle
Jo Jackson - 400m freestyle
Gemma Spofforth - 100m backstroke
Lizzie Simmonds - 100m backstroke


see also
Mix-up hits Marshall Games plans
01 Apr 08 |  Swimming
McClatchey sets new British mark
31 Mar 08 |  Swimming
GB Olympic hopes on the line
27 Mar 08 |  Swimming
Team GB for Beijing
29 Nov 07 |  Team GB
Swimming on the BBC
02 Oct 07 |  Swimming


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