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Australia basks in bronze glory

21 August 2014

SWIMMING: The Australian women’s 4x100m freestyle relay team has won bronze on Day 5 of the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.

The team consisting of Brianna Throssell, Ella Bond, Amy Forrester and Ami Matsuo blitzed the pool in 3:44.44 to add another bronze to the tally for Australia.

Despite aiming for a different colour medal, the girls knocked four seconds off their heat time and were stoked with their performance.

“It feels great, we did our best, we swam our best and getting a bronze medal again it’s so great,” Sydenysider Matsuo said.

“Competing in this competition is different to every other single competition in the world, competing against so many different countries, I think it has been amazing and this bronze medal, I will definitely treasure it for the rest of my life, I will never forget it, it has been brilliant,” South Australian Bond said.

Coming fifth heading into the final leg of the race, Australia’s hope of a medal was fading but 18-year-old Matsuo was there to mow down Netherlands and Brazil to come away medallists.

However they were just not good enough for gold medallist’s China and silver medallist’s Russia who took an early lead and maintained the pace until the end.

“It’s all about trying to swim your own race, you don’t want to go out too hard and die off in the back end so you want to try and sim your own race and you obviously have to try and do your best to catch them but you have to focus on what you’re doing,” sixteen-year-old Bond said.

Having now swum with each other and won two bronze as a relay team, the girl’s reflected on just how close they have become.

“We are just really close from Australia, we love swimming we share the same values and beliefs and I think we have really strong team bonding in between the club, the group so I really love them and for a relay I think that is really important,” Matsuo said.

“We are all really good at what we do and we all think alike and we are all good friends and we can all have a good conversation so hopefully that will help us keep in touch in the future,” Queenslander Forrester said.

In other events, Matsuo continued to make a comeback after failing to place in the top three in her main event, the women’s 200m freestyle, on Wednesday night by swimming another fast race in the women’s 50m freestyle semi, touching the wall first and qualifying second heading into the final on Friday night.

 Clocking a time of 25.40, Matsuo was just 0.2 seconds from Russia’s Rozaliya Nasretdinova but says she enjoys the challenge.

“I’m not worried, I’m just excited there is competition, I love racing and the more competition there is the more fun it is,” she said.

“She swam a good race and I applaud her for that but I’m racing as well and I love beating people, that’s my goal so I will give it a go.”

The Aussie women continued to shine with Western Australian Throssell also securing a spot in a gold medal race on Friday after qualifying third in the 100m butterfly semi.

Bettering her time of 1:00.54 in the heats, Throssell swam a 59.89 to win her semi but has tough competition in Hungarian component Liliana Szilagy not only qualified first in the semi but also won gold in the women’s 200m butterfly earlier in the week.

“ I don’t want to put too much pressure of you know going faster again or getting a medal or a PB, I don’t really want to have that pressure so I will just go out and do my best,” the 18-year-old said.

In the men’s Kyle Chalmers failed to match the pace of the pool in the men’s 100m freestyle, finishing second last in the semi’s with a time of 50.92.

Despite being disappointed the sixteen-year-old from South Australia says he just has to keep working at it.

“I’ve got to push myself a lot harder I think,” he said.

“It is probably not what I expected, I was hoping to swim a lot faster and make the final but it is what it is, I can’t re-race the race so I just need to go home and train a lot harder.”

Queenslander Grayson Bell also did not qualify for the final of his event, the men’s 50m breaststroke, but fortunately swam a PB 0.1 seconds faster than his heat swim earlier in the day.

Missing out on a medal is not the end of the world for Bell, the 17-year-old remaining optimistic about his future.

“I’m using the YOG as a stepping stone to see if I can make the future senior Olympics and hopefully get on the senior team and compete for Australia again,” he said.

“It has boosted my confidence by heaps and I now have a good feeling about the future.”

The final day of the swimming competition will commence on Friday at 1000 (1200 AEST).

It is not over for Australia’s hope of gold just yet with an action packed day planned including the mixed 4x100m medley relay.

You can catch all the action live on the IOC’s YouTube channel or at Olympics.org.

Laura Judd




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