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Miley Clocks First British Sub-4:40 400m IM

Jun 14, 2007  - Craig Lord

Britain's 17-year-old Hannah Miley is enjoying a summer of progress: in 4:39.91 - the first from her country below 4:40 - she not only set a national record in the concluding session of the Barcelona round of the Mare Nostrum Tour but defeated Commonwealth champion, Stephanie Rice, of Australia (4:41.70), and Olympic silver medal winner Kaitlin Sandeno, of the US (4:44.47), in the bargain.

The time would have won Miley the silver medal at the world championships in Melbourne in March but the Scot, from Garioch in Aberdeenshire, did not make the grade at British trials last December. At the time, her near miss was described by Bill Sweetenham the British performance director, as "character building".

Miley had already showed character but Sweetenham's words are starting to ring true: in the past five days, the daughter of coach Patrick Miley, a helicopter pilot who invented the Aquapacer training device, has already lowered the British record twice over 200m medley. Her 400m time marks the second occasion on which a Commonwealth swimmer has raced below 4:40, the regional record standing to Canada's Joanne Malar at 4:38.46 since the Pan Pacs in 1999.

If Miley was one of the relative newcomers to succeed tonight, then a man with lessons for all, Grant Hackett, of Australia, continued to remind everyone not to read too much into Melbourne 2007. In 15:00.58, the Olympic champion who lost his 1,500m crown in March, kept at bay a strong effort by American Erik Vendt, on 15:01.54, with Japan's Takeshi Matsuda a little further adrift, on 15:09.37.

There was more good news for a Dolphins squad taking the tour on with purpose. Olympic champion Jodie Henry took the 100m freestyle in 54.90, ahead of Finland's Hanna-Maria Seppala, on 55.03, and another Aussie, Alice Mills, on 55.56 and still some way to go before she gets back to being third fastest in the world not that long ago.

Both 100m butterfly finals went to the Dolphins, Felicity Galvez taking the race in 58.96 over American Kim Vandenberg, on 59.73, with China's Wenwen Hong third on 1:00.61. Andrew Lauterstein defeated Commonwealth champion Ryan Pini, Australia-trained star of sport in Papua New Guinea, 52.53 (meet record) to 52.93, with Brazil's Kaio Almeida third on 53.20. Nikolay Skvortsov, of Russian, touched ahead of Olympic medallist Andriy Serdinov, of Ukraine, 53.76 to 53.94

Bronte Barratt, on 4:10.18, and Aussie teammate Linda Mackenzie, on 4:10.73, got the better of Dane Lotte Friis, on 4:11.13, and Spain's Erika Villaecija, 4:11.25, over 400m freestyle.

Not all Australians were able to deliver gold, Eamonn Sullivan having to settle for bronze over 100m freestyle, on 49.48sec, the race going to Frenchman Alain Bernard, on a meet record, of 49.04, and Sweden's Stefan Nystrand, on 49.38.

Olympic and world champion and record holder Natalie Coughlin, of the US, avoided defeat over 100m backstroke by 0.17sec, her 1:01.32 keeping Japan's Hanae Ito at hand's length, with Ukraine's Iryna Amshennikova third on 1:01.51.

Tara Kirk, of the US, enjoyed another dominant victory over 100m breaststroke, in 1:07.37, ahead of Australians Tarmee White, 1:08.34, and Jade Edmistone, 1:08.99.

Japan's Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima clocked 1:00.96 to keep Australian Brenton Rickard, on 1:01.32, from causing upset. Third went to Alexander Dale Olen, of Norway, on 1:01.52, with Dolphin Christian Sprenger fourth on 1:01.86.

Japan enjoyed another win, courtesy of Tomomi Morita, in 54.70, over 100m backstroke. Aschwin Wildeboer, for Spanish club Sabadel, took the silver on 55.22, with Australian Ashley Delaney third on 55.36.

Next stop: Monte Carlo