Sexton savours fifth-place finish

Katy Sexton
Katy Sexton
Locks Heath talents at the Portsmouth First Chance meet

Locks Heath starlets take their Chance

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FORMER world champion Katy Sexton admits she is getting better the more the British Gas Swimming Championships go on after finishing just off the podium on day five.

The 29-year-old finished a valiant sixth in her first final in Manchester – the 100m backstroke – which was won by former Portsmouth Northsea team-mate and world champion Gemma Spofforth.

And Sexton showed a marked improvement in the 50m equivalent – a non-World Championship qualifying event – yesterday, touching home fifth in a time of 29.55 secs and just 0.17 seconds off a bronze medal.

With races coming thick and fast – both the 200m backstroke heats and semi-finals are today – Sexton now believes she is improving each time she enters the pool.

‘I was very happy with the 50m backstroke final,’ said Sexton, who won 200m backstroke gold at the World Championships in Barcelona nearly eight years ago.

‘It was faster than the night before, which was my main aim going into it.

‘The swims in the evening are always a little bit faster than those in the morning, with the body a bit more awake, so it was a good swim.

‘The 200m backstroke races are now coming quickly and I will take a lot of confidence from the 50m and going quicker in the final.

‘I have had a productive week so far and that is all I can ask for at this time of the year. I am making finals, which is a massive bonus for me at the moment. I will definitely take that.’

Swansea flyer Georgia Davies topped the podium in the 50m final after clocking a time of 28.67, with Manchester duo Emma Saunders and Lauren Quigley occupying second and third respectively.

And Sexton, who also claimed Commonwealth 200m backstroke gold in 1998, admits she is already looking beyond the British Championships and the rest of the year.

‘It is back to the drawing board for me after all of this,’ she added. ‘I am only just getting back into the swing of things after a bit of time out, and I am feeling good.

‘I have been out of hard training so I will get back in to the swing of it shortly.

‘I’m really happy with the way things are going, especially after the 50m.’

n The nation’s leading energy supplier British Gas is the principal partner of British Swimming, and is supporting the sport at all levels, from grass roots to our elite athletes. Visit britishgas.co.uk/swimming