Karen: I'll give Olympics everything

IPSWICH swim star Karen Pickering has vowed to "give her heart and soul" as she looks forward to what is likely to be her final Olympics.Pickering landed a freestyle double at the ASA National Long-Course Championships in Manchester yesterday.

IPSWICH swim star Karen Pickering has vowed to "give her heart and soul" as she looks forward to what is likely to be her final Olympics.

Pickering landed a freestyle double at the ASA National Long-Course Championships in Manchester yesterday.

The 32-year-old returned for the first time to the scene of her Commonwealth 200m victory to scoop the 100m and 200m crowns.

Pickering will compete in only the freestyle relay events in Athens – the first time in her career she has not appeared in individual events at an international meet.


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However, the Suffolk ace admits it may prove to be a blessing in her fourth Olympic Games.

"To be honest, I think it is good for me just to have a couple of races to concentrate on," she said.

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"I am 32 now. I find recovery harder and harder and the way that the freestyle races work at a major championships is very hard.

"I am just going to give absolutely everything I have got, my heart and my soul, for those races."

Pickering secured the double in the absence of Melanie Marshall, ranked first in the world for the longer distance.

The championships represent the last competitive outing for the British squad ahead of the Olympics.

Pickering stamped her authority on the race from the start, resisting the challenge of the fast-finishing Greek Zoi Dimoschaki to triumph in two minutes 1.20 seconds.

She led from the front and revealed she was determined to claim victory in the pool where she won the Commonwealth title over the distance two years ago.

She said: "I didn't want the Greek girl to win so I dug in deep. Not in our national championships – not in this pool.

"I get on well at this pool. I needed a couple of good swims as a confidence boost, the trials didn't go so well for me.

"I have done some good swims but at this time of the season it is hit and miss and you have to be ready to feel pretty lousy.

"I am very happy with how it went as I felt very tired but my coach said 'One more big swim and do yourself justice'."

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