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26 March 2007 PR 07/40

Loughborough’s Tancock smashes records, qualifies for world champs final

Loughborough University’s Liam Tancock smashed the British and Commonwealth record for the men’s 100 metres backstroke in qualifying second fastest for the final at the World Swimming championships in Melbourne.

Tancock, 21, racing next to Olympic and world champion Aaron Peirsol of the United States, blasted off the blocks and turned in 25.85 seconds, 0.11 seconds under the world record.

While he appeared to be tiring towards the end of the race, he held the advantage to finish in 53.71, well inside his own British record of 54.42 set at the Commonwealth Games in 2006 and the Commonwealth record of 53.78 set by Australia’s Matt Welsh at the 2004 Australian championships.

Peirsol, the world record holder who is seeking his third successive world title, touched just behind Tancock in the first semi-final in 53.92 seconds. Peirsol’s American team mate Ryan Lochte qualified fastest for the final after he finished in 53.51 in the second semi-final.

“I’m definitely pleased. I swam quick in the morning (heat). So I’m pretty ecstatic,” said Tancock. “I had a quicker stroke rate in the first 50. I was faster but with more control. I’m now going back to analyse it with my coach.

“I enjoyed racing against the other big guys. But I think Aaron Peirsol has definitely got more in the tank.”

Commonwealth champion Tancock, who is trained at the University by Ben Titley, provided some inspiration for his Loughborough team mate Kate Haywood and Edinburgh’s Kirsty Balfour, with both qualifying for the women’s 100 breaststroke final.

Balfour finished second in the first semi-final in a time of one minute, 7.67 seconds, just behind world champion and record holder Leisel Jones, to qualify fourth fastest while Haywood qualified eighth after finishing fifth in the second-semi-final in 1:08.49. Tara Kirk of the U.S. won the faster second semi-final in a time of 1:06.72.

“That was a British record swim so I’m really surprised actually,” said Balfour.

“I felt really strong, which is completely different to (my heat) where I was off the pace. The only thing that didn’t go smoothly was my finish.

“It’s great to have the presence of the British in the final,” Balfour added of Haywood also making the final.

Loughborough’s double Commonwealth champion David Carry, who withdrew from Sunday’s 400 freestyle to race the 400 individual medley later in the week, turned for the final length in third-place in the 200 freestyle but tied up in the final 15 metres to finish fifth in the semi-final and 12th overall in a time of 1:48.71.

Michael Phelps of the U.S., who is seeking an unprecedented eight titles at the especially constructed pool in Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena, won the first semi-final in 1:46.75. The Netherlands’ Pieter van den Hoogenband qualified fastest by winning the second semi-final in 1:46.33.

Ends

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Notes to editors

Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place it in the top flight of UK universities; the National Student Survey ranked Loughborough in the top five among full-time students; and industry highlights the University in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 40% of Loughborough’s income is for research, and 60% for teaching. The University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development; and for its outstanding work in evaluating and helping to develop social policy-related programmes.

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