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Gracious McEvoy flies in 50 free heats

12 August 2016

SWIMMING: The men’s 50m freestyle splash and dash kicked off proceedings on Day 6 heats at the Rio Olympic Aquatic Centre with Australia’s Cameron McEvoy and Matthew Abood amongst the action.

Coming into this event with the second fastest time in the world for the year, McEvoy looked his usual speedy self and managed to take out his heat in a time of 21.80 seconds.

That time was enough to safely move him through to the semi-finals tonight with Ukraine’s Andriy Hovorov the fastest qualifier in 21.49.

Backing up after finishing seventh in the finals of the 100m freestyle last night, McEvoy said putting things in perspective helped him to get back up and race again this morning.

“It’s the Olympics and any chance you get to have your own lane in an Olympic race is something special,” McEvoy said.

“I was easily able to stand behind the blocks knowing that it was a privilege to be there and knowing that allowed me to enjoy it a lot more.”

He was gracious in defeat and determined in his return to the pool this morning, putting the focus back on to his teammate Kyle Chalmers, who won the gold medal in the men’s 100m freestyle.

“I don’t want to stand here being the guy rolling off excuses, McEvoy said.

“Not only because that’s not the type of person I am, but I also don’t want to take anything away from what Kyle has achieved.

“This is his moment and he should really soak it up and he deserves all the recognition he can get.”

When asked what he thought he could get out of the 50m freestyle, McEvoy said he wants to enjoy it.

“I feel like I can thoroughly enjoy it,” McEvoy said.

“The 50m free is, in my mind, different to any other race. For me there’s no tactic, it’s just dive in and swim and that’s as simple as I like it.

“I’m going to get up and try and go as close to my best time as I can.

“I do believe I am in good shape to do that but, more importantly, I’m going to just enjoy the experience and soak up one of my last races at these Olympic Games.”

Olympic rookie Abood stopped the clock at 22.47 to finish 33rd overall in his first ever individual Olympic swim.

Women's 800m Freestyle

Jessica Ashwood will get a chance to race in the women’s 800m freestyle final after clocking the sixth fastest time from the heats this morning.

Ashwood hit the wall in a time of 8:22.57 to safely move through to the next round.

Ashwood said she wasn’t going to be distracted by competitors like Katie Ledecky. Instead, she is planning to stick to what she knows.

“I’m just hoping for a best time. That would be my idea of a good goal for me to achieve in the finals,” Ashwood said.

“I just stuck to what I know, that has given me the best results in the past, so trying to do that here as well.”

Her West Australian teammate Tamsin Cook, who was backing up after her silver medal-winning performance in the 4x200m freestyle last night, clocked an 8:36.62 to finish 20th overall.

Men's 100m Butterfly

Our men’s butterfly duo of David Morgan and Grant Irvine have both qualified for the semi-finals of the 100m fly tonight, making it through the cut-throat heats in 10th and 12th place respectively.

Morgan touched in a time of 51.81 while Irvine finished in 51.84, putting them both within reach of the final.

“It’s about 0.6 of a second between the first 16 swimmers, so it’s good to get my hand on the wall and get into the semi-finals tonight,” Irvine said.

The top qualifier was Singapore’s Joseph Schooling in 51.41.

Women's 200m Backstroke      

After waiting patiently for six days, it was finally Belinda Hocking’s turn to race when she took on the heats of the women’s 200m backstroke.

The Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championship gold medallist from 2014 took a break in 2015 from competitive swimming, but has returned as a force to be reckoned with.

Hocking took out her heat in a time of 2:09.00 to move through ranked fourth overall into tonight’s semi-final.    

“I was pretty nervous this morning it’s been a bit of a long wait for me,” Hocking said.

“I think I’m the last female on the team to have a go, so I just wanted to get out there and put a good swim in and make the semi, which I did.”

The women’s 200m backstroke is a competitive field with the versatile Katinka Hosszu from Hungary topping the qualifiers with her time of 2:06.09.

With some surprise results already form this Games, Hocking said she wasn’t ruling anyone out.

“Katinka is having a great meet” Hocking said.

“I’ve raced against her a few times and she’s a really tough competitor, but I think that we’ve seen during the week that there is going to be a lot of tough competitors in the race.

“You never know who’s going to make it, who’s going to miss out so we’ll just wait and see what happens tonight but I’m looking forward to it,” Hocking said.

After watching Kyle Chalmers win last night, Hocking said the team was “on a high” and had some wise words for her fellow Aussies.

“I think it’s unreal, we’ve had such a good meet, it’s really great seeing the youngsters come up,” Hocking said.

“I’ve always said, as you get older I think you get more fearful of what can and can’t happen and when you’re younger you just go out and have fun.

“I think if we can all enhance our little inner-Kyle, I think we’ll all do really well!”

After a tough start to competition in the 100m backstroke, Emily Seebohm also progressed through to the semis of the 200m following her 2:09.00 heat swim.

“Obviously not the best week of racing for me but it was just about making it through and if I can do that again tonight I’ll be happy,” Seebohm said.  

“It’s been tough but that is what makes you a good racer, continuing to be tough about it and progressing through.”

The finals will commence at 10:00pm (11:00am AEST) at the Rio Aquatic Centre.

Kathleen Rayment

olympics.com.au

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