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Wednesday, September 20, 2000

Women's 4x200 free team may pull switch

 SYDNEY -- With a little personnel shuffling the Canadian women's 4x200m freestyle team hopes to deal themselves a medal-winning hand.

 Winnipeg swimmer Shannon Shakespeare expects a couple of swimmers, probably Marianne Limpert and Laura Nicholls, to join the team even though they're entered in the women's 100m freestyle semifinal this evening.

 With Shakespeare, Vancouver's Jessica Deglau, Victoria's Katie Brambley, and Waterloo's Jen Button in the morning heats, Canada qualified for the final in 8:07.12 for seventh place.

 "It was a morning swim, they're always tough," said Shakespeare. "We knew we had to qualify top-three and we did. I think the Aussies and Americans are the class of the field, but we're going to fight and battle for the podium.

 "We'll need everybody under two minutes, and I expect some changes to our lineup for the final."

 For Shakespeare, it was a race to shake off the rust and barnacles that have collected since her last race on opening day in the 4x100m freestyle relay.

 "It's hard, I've been trying not to rest too much, because if you do, you won't be able to get up again for this," said the 23-year-old. "We'll have to come out again, and see if we can get this done."

 The women's 4x200 team is Canada's last real hope for a relay medal in the pool.

 In other early heat action, Canada's Curtis Myden, three-time Olympic bronze medallist, qualified for the men's 200m individual medley semifinal tonight with a 2:01.95 swim, over one second behind Italian favourite Massimiliano Rosolino's 2:00.92.

 CLOCK TICKS ON ILL BAILEY

 Defending Olympic sprint champion Donovan Bailey is fighting a viral infection and is in dire straits two days before the 100-metre heats.

 "He was pretty down when I saw him," Ray Flynn, Bailey's agent, said last night. "He has a fever and a cold and is congested. He's sick."

 Bailey, 32, did not join his mates on the Canadian team in training last night. Flynn said Bailey developed the infection a couple of days ago just before leaving the team's training base at Runaway Bay for Sydney.

 The Oakville sprinter is living at a private residence in Sydney during the Olympic Games.

 "He is laying low right now," Flynn said. "Hopefully he'll be able to go for a jog today and (the doctors) will be able to do something for him."

 -- With files from Sun Media