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Commonwealth Games 2002
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Swimming Sunday, 4 August, 2002, 03:03 GMT 04:03 UK
More medal success for England
BBC Five Live's swimming correspondent

England collected 11 medals - three gold, four silver and four bronze - on the penultimate day of competition at the Manchester Aquatics Centre.

When you add Alison Sheppard's gold in the 50m freestyle for Scotland it wasn't a bad night at all for the home countries.

It is a measure of the progress made by England that they will have been disappointed only to have collected three victories, when four or more looked a realistic outcome.

But they did have back-to-back clean sweeps to put the crowd into a state of high excitement - the noise in the pool was deafening.

Loughborough student James Gibson started the domination of the medals by winning the 50m breaststroke.

James Gibson
Gibson started the ball rolling in the pool

He was closely followed by Adam Whitehead, who got his second medal of the week, and Darren Mew, who improved upon his fourth place in the 100m.

Not to be outdone, the women proved they could do it too.

Sarah Price is now as accomplished as any English swimmer as she proved with an impressive display in the 200m backstroke.

Joanna Fargus finished second and Katy Sexton, the 1998 champion who has been out of form for some time now, came in a close third.

The other top-placed finish was another triumph for sheer hard work on behalf of Rebecca Cooke.

No-one could claim she is the most naturally gifted of swimmers, but what she lacks in finesse, is made up for in pure application.

If she could ever find a sprint finish in any of her events then no-one could stop her, and no-one could this time in the 400m freestyle.

Sheppard built on her silver medal for Scotland in the 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur with gold this time.

The Canadian-based sprinter didn't allow any of the seven other sprinters a look-in as she comfortably won the 50m freestyle.

The dream of seven golds for Ian Thorpe evaporated, as expected, in the 100m backstroke.

Fairytale continues

Matt Welch, the 2001 world champion over the distance, proved to be too tough over the first 50m to allow the world's greatest swimmer to comeback.

The fairytale continues for two Manchester swimmers.

Adrian Turner added a silver in the 200m individual medley to his bronze in the 400m, while James Goddard, who took gold in the 200m backstroke, showed what a prospect he is by following home Turner for bronze.

The final day of competition will resolve who the fastest man in the Commonwealth is.

Mark Foster so badly wants a third successive gold, and I hope one of England's most personable swimmers can complete the job in the 50m freestyle.

Scotland's Graeme Smith, the comeback kid who was born nearby in Stockport, will be hoping to stay close enough to Australia's Grant Hackett to break the European record in the 1500m freestyle.


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