FORMER European junior champion Jessica Dickons left Sheffield’s Ponds Forge pool in tears last night after managing only a bronze medal in her best event at the British Gas Championships, writes ROGER GUTTRIDGE.
The 18-year-old from Borough of Stockton was two seconds short of her personal best in the 200m butterfly as she stopped the clock on 2:10.21.
She was also more than five seconds behind her friend Ellie Gandy, from Beckenham, whose win added a second event to her programme for the World Championships in Rome in July.
Gandy’s time of 2:04.83 was announced as a European and Commonwealth record, although this remains unconfirmed due to technical problems with the timing equipment.
The result is another setback for Dickons, whose preparations for the Olympic trials were hampered by a serious back injury in 2007.
She could still qualify for Rome if she clocks the second fastest time to Gandy’s at the Scottish nationals in June.
But that will probably mean overhauling not only Hannah Miley, who took the silver in Sheffield in 2:08.24, but her own former training partner at Stockton, Jemma Lowe.
Lowe, who swam both the butterfly events in Beijing, is now based in Florida and opted not to return for stage one of the trials.
Dickons herself is now training in Paris under the successful French coach Fred Vergnoux.
City of Newcastle’s Jessica Thielmann, 15, confirmed her qualification for this summer’s European Junior Championships when she came sixth in an 800m freestyle final won by Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington.
Thielmann’s time of 8:47.65 was two seconds outside her personal best.
PBs in the heats and semi-finals elevated team-mate Paul Robinson to 13th place in the men’s 100m freestyle in 50.79.
Newcastle’s Rachel Haigh came 16th in the semi-finals of the women’s 100m freestyle (57.89).