James got off to a medal-winning start on day two of the World Short Course Championships in Indianapolis when he took the silver medal in the 100m Butterfly. Having qualified second fastest in a time of 51.69 secs, the 28 yr old British swimmer lined up in lane five, alongside the favourite and world record holder, Ian Crocker of the USA. Although pleased with his qualification swim, James knew that he would have to up the pace if he was going to have a chance against Crocker, the only man in history ever to go below 50.0 secs for this event. Despite giving his all down the last 25m, he never really recovered from a slowish start and the American always looked a comfortable winner, taking the title in a new championship record time of 50.18secs , with Hickman taking silver in 51.13 just a fraction outside his own British record and one of his best swims ever over the 100m short course distance. Peter Mankoc of Slovakia was third in 51.66 secs.
“I’m really pleased with that”, James said after the race. “That’s just outside my best and I knew that Crocker would be very fast but I was pleased with the way I hung on down that last 25m. This sets me up nicely for the 200m fly”, he added.
The silver medal means that James has won a medal in each of the last five World Short Course Championships and he will be hoping to go one better in the 200m Butterfly where he is the defending champion and aiming to add his FIFTH consecutive World title over the longer butterfly distance. Hickman’s chances have been boosted by the surprise withdrawal from the championships of home favourite and six times Olympic Champion, Michael Phelps, due to a back injury.