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Commonwealth Games 2002

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  Thursday, 11 April, 2002, 21:32 GMT 22:32 UK
Mew breaks 10-year record
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By Bob Ballard
BBC Sport's swimming commentator

It has taken 10 years, but Nick Gillingham's British record in the 100 metres breaststroke has finally gone.

The mark was broken by the 22-year-old University of Bath swimmer Darren Mew at the British championships in Manchester.

Mew has been threatening to go faster for some time, and was helped in no small part in the first semi-final by the rapid first 50 metre swim of Loughborough's James Gibson.

He turned in the lead at 50 metres in 28.45, spurring Mew on in the final length to finish in the lead with a time of 61.20 - 13 one hundredths of a second inside Gillingham's mark.

Darren Mew breaks NIck Gillingham's 10-year record
Darren Mew celebrates his record breaking swim
And, there may be better to come from both of them in Friday's final.

Zoe Baker had threatened to break the world record in the 50 metres breaststroke, and, at the halfway stage looked on course to usurp Penny Heynes time of 30.83 set by the South African three years ago.

But, by her own admission, she got too excited as she was closing in on the finish, and was half a second shy of the time she wanted.

The Commonwealth Games final might be a different story.

There was no storybook ending for Paul Palmer, who announced that he would retire after the Commonwealth Games.

The 1996 Olympic silver medalist in the 400 metres freestyle, has been holding down a full time job and fitting in training where he could since January and it showed in his performance in the 200 free.

He was fifth overall, in a race won by Jamie Salter in 1:49.26.

Pickering win

More worrying from an English perspective is that he was the only swimmer to go sub 1:50 and that does not bode well for the relay squad at the Games in July.

The Commonwealth 100 metres backstroke record is under threat from the swimmer that currently holds it.

Sarah Price, the 22-year-old from Barnet Copthall, was within sight of her best time of 61.32 in the semi-finals, and only needs 12 one hundredths of a second on Friday to improve upon her all time best performance.

It is odds-on that she will do just that.

Sarah Price
Sarah Price is close to the Commonwealth record
Finish of the competition so far came in the 50 metres backstroke final. Martin Harris, back after "retiring" following the Olympic trials, tied for first place with Adam Ruckwood, who is more associated with the 100 & 200 disciplines.

They finished together on 26.38s, but outside the automatic qualifying time for the Commonwealths.

Mark Foster, eighth in the heats of the 50 metres butterfly, moved up to first overall in the semis, but there is still a lot yet to come from the British record holder.

He clocked 24.70, a full second outside his personal best.

And try and keep Karen Pickering out of the picture.

The 30-year-old Ipswich swimmer again showed the way home to younger swimmers in the 100 metres freestyle semi-finals, by recording the fastest time of 55.88.

BBC Sport's Bob Ballard
"Gillingham's record has finally been broken"
Darren Mew
"I wasn't expecting to break it tonight"
See also:

10 Apr 02 |  Other Sports
Baker lowers own record
07 Apr 02 |  Scotland
Sheppard gathers a silver
07 Apr 02 |  Other Sports
Hickman claims historic gold
06 Apr 02 |  Other Sports
Igelstrom sets world mark
05 Apr 02 |  Other Sports
Sheppard takes bronze for fun
05 Apr 02 |  Other Sports
Foster takes world silver
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