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Cate’s hot heat sets her up for sizzling semi-final

11 August 2016

SWIMMING: Triple Olympian Cate Campbell this morning demonstrated her dominance in the heats of the women’s 100m freestyle posting an Olympic record time of 52.78.

The current world record holder in the individual event and the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay, cruised to victory in her heat to comfortably take the top ranking through to the semi-finals tonight.

Cate’s speed looked almost effortless, as though she was swimming leisurely laps at the Valley pool in Brisbane and not at the Rio Aquatic Centre for the Olympic Games but insisted it was harder than it appeared.

“It never feels as effortless as it looks,” Cate said.

“It was a good heat swim and sets me up for a good place tonight. Just looking forward to doing the rounds and keeping as calm and as relaxed as possible.”

The 24-year-old was the only swimmer to dip under the 53-second mark with the USA’s Simone Manuel second fastest in 53.32 while Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom rounded out the top three a touch behind in 53.37.

Younger sister Bronte, the reigning world champion in this event will also progress after finishing third in her heat and eighth overall for a time of 53.71.

“It’s just about getting through the rounds for me at this stage,” Bronte said.

“Eighth through, puts me in a good spot for tonight, I will just have to go quicker tonight in a fast field.

“With about ten to go I saw I was a bit behind so I just turned it on for the last bit. Just want to make sure you’re safe through, I mean Nathan Adrian almost missed the semi-final yesterday. You’ve just got to be quick, it’s an Olympics so everyone is swimming fast,” she said.

The sister act will both be keen to post a solid time in the semis tonight to progress to the final and be in with a chance at taking the Olympic championship crown.

Men's 200m Backstroke

After a fourth place finish in the men’s 100m backstroke final earlier in the week, Mitch Larkin was back and ready for redemption in the heats of the 200m back.

“I had a bit of a tear as the realisation settled in that there’s a chance I missed a medal there,” Larkin said referring to his 100m back final.

“I came in I guess expecting and hoping to achieve.  It’s disappointing knowing that it’s going to be another four years before I get that chance again.  For me, I look back at the race, if I had controlled it slightly a bit more in the first 50 I would have been strong in the second 50 but that’s racing you know.

“For me, it was also nice knowing I was 0.03 seconds off a bronze and 0.1 seconds off a silver which is not bad (laughs).”

The 23-year-old will leave nothing to chance in the 200 and he took out his heat in a time of 1:56.01, saving some speed for the semi-final tonight where he will go in ranked third.

“It fuels you, but I fuel myself as well.  I’ve trained so hard for this.  Anything’s possible tonight and the same with tomorrow night.  It will be a good race,” Larkin said.

Joining him in the semi-final will be his teammate Joshua Beaver. Beaver set a new personal best in the 100m back and looked in good shape in the heats of the 200 today, moving through in 10th place with a time of 1:56.65.

The Olympic rookie said he’ll need to bring his ‘fireworks’ in the semi tonight if he wants to make his first ever Olympic final.

“I realised I had a job to do this morning.  I stuck to the race plan which is what I need to do and everything went well,” Beaver said.

“I think I left my fireworks at home this morning but I’ll bring them back tonight and let them off and see if it’s good enough to make it through to the final tomorrow night.”

“Having swum a semi-final now I know what the expectation is and what it’s like, the experience has done me a world of good and I look forward to tonight and as I said, packing the fireworks to see what I’ve got.”

Russia’s Evgeny Rylov was the fastest qualifier in 1:55.02 with China’s Xu Jiayu in second place, just ahead of Larkin with a time of1:55.51.

With less than a second separating the swimmers from eighth to 16th after the heats, a finals berth will be tough to come by tonight.

Women's 200m Breaststroke

With the third fastest time in the world this year for this event, Taylor McKeown has maintained her ranking and qualified third for the semi-final of the 200m breaststroke tonight.

The Sunshine Coast swimmer is staying in control and sticking to her strategy and it’s paying off, after also making the final in the 100m breaststroke earlier in the week.

“I feel like I’m more proud of myself for being able to stick to my own race plan and not be distracted by what’s going on around me,” McKeown said.

“I knew going in next to Rie Kaneto she’s got the fastest time this year so I knew it was going to be a tough race.  I just got pipped on the finish but it doesn’t matter – it’s heat swimming.” 

McKeown said she was excited for tonight as she feels like she still has more to give.

“I was tempted in that last 50 to rate up and go for it but I just stretched it out and held back a little bit,” she said.

“It’s good confidence for me going into tonight knowing I can attack the first 100 the same and then have something left in that last 50.  That’s my favourite part of the race, the last 50, to just see how much I can manage to come home.”

The top two qualifiers from this event, just ahead of McKeown were Denmark’s Rikke Moller Pederson (2:22.72) and Rie Kaneto from Japan (2:22.86).

Olympic debutant Georgia Bohl swam her last individual event this morning after finishing 22nd overall with a time of 2:28.24.

Men's 200m Individual Medley 2:00.18

Australia’s Travis Mahoney has wrapped up his Olympic campaign with a 20th place finish in the men’s 200m individual medley.

After making his first Olympic final in the 400m individual medley earlier in the week and finishing seventh, the Victorian based swimmer has had a stellar first Games experience and will no doubt leave Rio hungry for more.

Women's 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay    

The women’s 4x200m freestyle relay team of Leah Neale, Bronte Barratt, Tamsin Cook and Jessica Ashwood will move through to the final tonight comfortable after clocking the fastest time in their heat of 7:49.24.

Swimming in her first event at these Games, Neale got the team out to a great start leading at the change and splitting a time of 1:57.06.

“It’s been a long wait but I was really keen to get out there and put out a good heat swim and put the girls into a final so we’ve done that job,” Neale said.

“We didn’t know until yesterday who was in what position.  I think they were judging it off how people were going throughout the week.  To put me first is a real honour.  I haven’t really been in that position before so I was pretty pleased to lead the girls off.”

The Aussies then couldn’t be caught as Barratt and Cook extended the lead and Ashwood bought them home to touch first.

The final team will be decided at the commencement of the session tonight and they will go in ranked second overall.

“We never really know who’s going to be in the final.  I’m just really happy to have been part of the heat team as it is,” Cook said.

“If I get another swim tonight I’ll be so excited about that but if I don’t I’ll be up there in the stands supporting the girls all the way.”

And as Barratt, a gold medallist from this event in Beijing, said last night, with this team ‘anything can happen’.

“As we’ve proven many times before, if you’ve got a lane, you’ve got a chance, so we’ve got a great chance,” Barratt said.

Kathleen Rayment

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