Haffield Makes It 44 For Haller
Craig Lord
Thomas Haffield's win in the 400m medley at British trials made him 44th swimmer coached by Dave Haller (now in Cardiff) to make Olympic teams since 1968, the count including the likes of David Wilkie

Thomas Haffield, just 20, capitalised on the Commonwealth record he set in the 400m medley (4:12.59) heats with a 4:14.01 (the difference almost all on breaststroke) victory in the final to book his passage to China. There with him will be Euan Dale, coached by Ian Turner at Loughborough, who clocked a best time of 4:16.33.

Haffield's win made him the 44th swimmer coached by Dave Haller (now in Cardiff) to race at the Olympic Games since 1968, the count including the likes of David Wilkie and Duncan Goodhew, Olympic champions. And more on Haller later.

Haffield said: 'I found it harder than last night. I took me a while to get to sleep. My legs in warm-up were a little bit achy, a bit like jelly so I'm pleased with that.' There's something the world should know about Hatfield: he's slight, slender, intelligent and driven and he's just at the start of an incredible journey of potential.

Francesca Halsall, 18 next week, clocked 58.44sec in the heats of the 100m butterfly at British trials - only to see the mark fall in the next heat in a 57.79 to Jemma Lowe, 18. In the final, the two British Smart Trackers battled to a 58.16 to 58.27 conclusion, Halsall getting the touch and the national title.

Lowe split in 27.19, a touch too fast, and Halsall, at 27.34 and expecting to be ahead at that point, sensed an opportunity. She seized it too, clawing back the deficit stroke by stroke, her rival ever within eyeshot until the closing seven metres. As Halsall ploughed on the pressure and Lowe began to struggle, Ellen Gandy, second to Lowe in the 200m earlier in the week, threatened an upset but Lowe withheld the challenge. Gandy took third in 58.49, with Terri Dunning fourth in 59.11. It was only in 2005 that the Britain found a woman, Ros Brett, capable of racing below a minute. The journey since then that has been undertaken by the Smart Track development squad and their home coaches has been immense, the rewards and results just starting to show through. A certain Bill Sweetenham has good reason to grant himself a smile or two down there in Australia.

Halsall, coached by Colin Stripe in Liverpool, said: 'I just wanted to get in and race. I swam faster this morning than I did in the evening so I am happy with that. It's what we're going to have to do out in Beijing.' Lowe, coached by Graeme Antwhistle at Stockton-on-Tees, said: 'I always go out fast but it was hard coming home today. I'm just glad to get the place.'

Kris Gilchrist, coached by Fred Vergnoux at Edinburgh, and James Kirton, coached by Russ Barber at City of Sheffield, will race the 200m breaststroke in Beijing. Gilchrist's 2:10.44 was a little shy of where he wants to be - below 2:10. Everything about his technique promises a big breakthrough. Kirton clocked 2:13.47, compared to the best of 2:12.93 he set in heats. The slower times seen in finals from a fair few swimmers - far more than would normally be the case in traditional morning heats and evening finals format - reflects the need to swim qualifying times in evening heats and then secure a one-two placing in morning finals. It also reflects the pattern that all swimmers who do not fit into the category of Michael Phelps and Co will have to do in Beijing: race as if their lives depended on it in heats.

Michael Rock, coached by Sean Kelly at Stockport, fell just 0.02 shy of the British record he set in heats of the 100m butterfly, his 52.30 victory keeping Todd Cooper, coached by Chris Martin at Stirling, at bay by just 0.03sec. Rock said: 'I am so happy right now. To make the Olympics has been my dream for about five years now. All the work has come good.'