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Swimming: Early bird Bree set to fly

By David Kelly

Published 15/12/2007

Andrew Bree said he enjoyed his "splash" in the 100m freestyle at the European Championships but his main event comes tomorrow morning.

Bree clocked 50.48 for the 50m free on a day when Hungarian star Laszlo Cseh had the home crowd on their feet again with a second world record on successive days.

Having set a new world best for the 200m individual medley on Thursday, he clocked 3:59.33 for the 400m IM, becoming the first man to break the four-minute barrier.

Bree, in action today in the 50m breast, knows that he will have to wipe the sleep from his eyes and blast off from the blocks in some style if he is to make the 200m breaststroke final in Debrecen tomorrow.

Bree was a silver medallist four years ago in Dublin and a repeat performance would cap a great year, having qualified for the Olympics in the summer.

Bree said: "I have to hit the ground running on Sunday morning because there are no semi-finals in the 200m event.

"So it's just a matter of getting mentally prepared and exploding out of the blocks.

" If I can get it right then I expect to be in the final and I'll take it from there. There's no guarantee of a medal but I feel very, very confident.

"My stroke feels great and I'm looking forward to standing on the blocks agains against some of the best in the world."

French woman Laure Manaudou set a new European record last night when she won the 100m backstroke in 57.34.

Meanwhile, Aisling Cooney and Julie Douglas will also be in action tomorrow.

Douglas said: "I was disappointed with the 100m free but hopefully I can cut out the mistakes and go a lot better in the 200m free and 50m free.

"I've come here to qualify for the world short course championships in Manchester next year so I need to raise my game and hopefully I can hit the qualification mark.

"And if Andy could get a medal on Sunday that would be a great double for the Irish squad.

"Aisling has been swimming very well too ... Sunday could be a great day all round for us if we get it right."

Belfast Telegraph

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