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Aussie's fight to better bronze run

21 August 2014

SWIMMING: Another successful morning at the pool saw Australia propel themselves into four semi-finals and one final on Thursday evening.

The women’s 4x100m freestyle relay team secured themselves a lane in the gold medal race while Ami Matsuo (50m freestyle), Kyle Chalmers (100m freestyle), Brianna Throssell (100m butterfly) and Grayson Bell (50m breaststroke) all qualified for the semi finals of their events.

After winning bronze in the women’s 4x100m medley relay earlier in the meet, Matsuo, Throssell, Amy Forrester and Ella Bond will attempt to do one better for the team and are aiming for silver or even gold in the 4x100m freestyle relay after qualifying second in the heats with a time of 3:48.72.

“We all just swam so we could make it into the final and I think we all still have plenty in the tank for tonight so it’s pretty exciting,” Sydneysider Matsuo said.

“Me and the girls are going to step up tonight, hopefully we will swim a lot faster than we did this morning so yeah I think we are in with a good chance,” South Australian Bond said.

 All four girls swam fast times in the heat, Matsuo finishing the relay off with a 55.50, but a stand out was Queenslander Amy Forrester who blew her PB out of the water with a 57.27 in the third leg of the race to pull the girls from fourth place into third heading into the final 100 metres.

“I’m pretty stoked with that time , I mean I haven’t done freestyle or even trained for freestyle for so long I wasn’t really sure of what I was going to do but I’m really happy I was able to do that time,” the sixteen-year-old said.

“You are swimming for a team, you are swimming for Australia so it really helps keep you motivated and it helps you to lift up and do a swim with a good time.”

Russia remains the biggest competition for the girls, just ahead of China who has dominated the pool at the Games.

Despite being over the moon about the team having won six bronze medals so far, Australian coach Tracey Menzies says she is keen for the girls to up the ante.

"I'm hoping for silver," she said.

"If the girls stick to the plan and they all swim to their best and if nothing comes out and surprises us in other lanes we should be alright tonight and maybe we can break the bronze run."

In other events, Matsuo redeemed herself from a disappointing final in the women’s 200m freestyle on Wednesday night to power home in first place of the 50m freestyle heat, qualifying second overall.

With a time of 25.50, she was 0.50 behind fastest qualifier Rozaliya Nasretdinova from Russia who was still on a high from winning gold in the 200 last night, but Matsuo says she still has a lot left in her heading into the semi’s.

“It was pretty comfortable swim, I was still a bit disappointed from yesterday so I just thought it’s only a 50 just give it my best shot and I think I swam pretty well,” the 18-year-old said.

“I just had to forget about yesterday, today is a new day, new event and it’s a fun event so I just did my best ...I think I can go faster tonight and I haven’t gotten an individual medal yet so I would love to get a medal if I can.”

Sixteen-year-old Bond was also in the women’s 50m freestyle heat but unfortunately didn’t qualify fast enough for the semis with a time of 26.76, but says she is happy with her performance.

“It would have been good to make the semi but I gave it my all,” she said.

“I suppose I was pretty happy with my time, but there are definitely a few things I can improve on.”

Fellow South Australian swimmer Chalmers had a little more luck in his 100m freestyle heat, qualifying 11th with a time of 50.73.

After swimming a 49.09 in the men’s 4x100m medley relay on Wednesday night, Chalmers is confident he can improve on his time but is not thinking about bagging his first individual medal just yet.

“It is definitely part of my game plan, not coming out this morning and smashing it so that I have enough energy to be able to back it up in the semi final ... We will just see how I go just getting through the rounds is my main focus at the moment,” the sixteen-year-old said.

“There is a lot of good racing and a lot of great talent ... this competition has just blown my mind.”

After securing her fourth bronze medal in the pool on Wednesday night, Western Australian Throssell came out firing again in the morning session, pushing home first in heat four of the women’s 100m butterfly.

With a time of 1:00.54, the 18-year-old qualified fourth overall behind some tough competition from Hungary, Italy and China.

Finally, Queensland’s Bell had a cracking swim in the men’s 50m breaststroke swimming a PB of 28.96 and securing himself a spot in the semi final on Thursday night.

Having won a bronze medal with the men’s 4x100m medley relay on Wednesday night, the 17-year-old from Benowa says he has it in him to keep improving.

“I’m feeling great, I knew I had to PB to make a semi final and I did just that and I’m happy with the outcome,” he said.

“There is a lot of process which goes into it to keep on doing that [improving] and if you focus on the process for each race you will get outcomes every time...I’m going to have to do another PB to get to the final and I need to focus even harder and get prepared for the final, it’s in me for sure.”

With the last day of the swimming competition nearing closer, coach Menzies says she couldn’t be prouder of each and every one of the swimmers and their performance so far.

“I am extremely proud of how they have handled themselves from heats to finals. All of them have transitioned from the heats to the semis or from the heats to the finals and improved” the Olympic coach said.

“It is a big learning curve for these guys on how to live in a village, how to handle themselves at an international meet and I think to their credit I think they have done an exceptional job of handling the pressure and the limitations that they have, we have come with no physio massage, so they’ve had to do really good self management, we’ve made them become a little but more resilient with this trip and I think it has paid off.”

The second last day of finals for the swimming will start at 1800 (2000 AEST) at the Olympic Sports Centre Natatorium in Nanjing.

You can watch all the action as Australia fights for another medal in the pool on the IOC’s YouTube channel or Olympics.org.

Laura Judd



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