I couldn’t hold anything back in this like… 25 metres left to go, right when it started to hurt, I just told myself, “Brent, this could be your last 100 freestyle ever, just go for it man, just go for it.” and I did.
-Brent Hayden (x)
LONDON, England, August 2. GEORGE Bovell kicked off the sixth day of swimming at the 2012 London Olympics in a big way with an Olympic textile best in the 50 free.Brazil’s Cesar Cielo, the defending Olympic champion in the event, finished second in 21.80 with teammate Bruno Fratus placing third in 21.82. Cielo is looking to continue the tradition in the event of swimmers successfully defending their titles. Since Matt Biondi won the first iteration of the event in 1988, Popov (1992, 1996) and Gary Hall Jr. (2000, 2004) have posted title defenses.
Bovell, in heat six of eight, blasted a time of 21.77. That swim eclipsed the Olympic textile best of 21.91 posted by Alexander Popov in the semifinals of the 1992 Barcelona Games. Bovell, who swims for Trinidad & Tobago, is vying for Olympic hardware for the second time in his career. He took third in the 200 IM at the 2004 Athens Games, and has competed in the last four Olympics.
“It was hard to sleep last night after the race (100m freestyle) because it was so late,” Cielo said. “This morning I was more concerned with making enough effort to make it back. It’s a matter of racing now and getting faster tonight and making sure I get a spot in the final. I did just enough to get to the semis. It wasn’t a very intense swim. Tonight I will swim at my best and make sure I get to the final.”
USA’s Anthony Ervin, who tied for gold with Hall in 2000 with a 21.98, posted his Olympic best with a 21.83 to advance to the semifinal rounds as well. Ervin returned to the sport after a 12-year hiatus, and made the U.S. Olympic squad with a surprise run in Omaha.
“It was good. I had some first race jitters,” Ervin said. “Hopefully I can make that (to win a medal) happen in the next two swims. It is part of the human experience to push and push what we think is possible.”
South Africa’s Roland Schoeman (21.92) and USA’s Cullen Jones (21.95) qualified fifth and sixth. Schoeman is looking for a return to the podium after a bronze in 2004.
“I’ve been feeling good ever since the relay,” Schoeman said. “It’s good to come out and get that one under my belt.”
Russia’s Andrey Grechin, Ukraine’s Andrii Govorov and France’s Florent Manaudou all tied for seventh with matching 22.09s, while Australia’s James Magnussen checked in with a 10th-place 22.11. Italy’s Luca Dotto and South Africa’s Gideon Louw tied for 11th with 22.12s.
“To be totally honest the last thing I wanted to do was to get up and swim again [after his second-place finish in the 100 free],” Magnussen said. “No, I didn’t sleep. I don’t think I’ve really had the chance to come to grips with it yet. I had a chance to sit back last night and think about what happened. All I wanted to do after the race is see my parents, you start to get a realisation of what’s important. It was an important part of my life that race last night.”
In response to a question on whether his facial hair led to him finishing .01 seconds behind Nathan Adrian in the 100 free last night:
“It’s ridiculous. I’ve always raced with it.”
Canada’s Brent Hayden (22.15), Hungary’s Krisztian Takacs (22.19), Romania’s Norbert Trandafir (22.22) and Australia’s Eamon Sullivan (22.27) all made the semifinals as well. The semifinals proved to be all about the veterans as the youngest qualifier was Govorov at 20, with two 30 year olds (Ervin, Schoeman) as well as a slew of 25-and-ups made the final 16.
2008 silver medalist Amaury Leveaux missed semifinals with a an 18th-place 22.35.
Men’s 100 free medal ceremony
LONDON, England, August 1. IN one of the closest finishes in Olympic history, USA’s Nathan Adrian touched out Australia’s James Magnussen at the wall in the men’s 100-meter freestyle at the 2012 London Olympics.Magnussen, a heavy favorite in the event after popping the overall textile best with a 47.10 in March of this year, gave Australia its second straight silver in the event. Eamon Sullivan took silver behind France’s Alain Bernard at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Adrian turned third, and powered home with a 47.52 for the win, edging Magnussen by the slimmest of margins as Magnussen touched in 47.53. Adrian’s effort bested the American textile best of 47.89 he set as a relay leadoff on the men’s 400 freestyle relay, and gave the U.S. its first winner in the event since Matt Biondi topped the podium in 1988. The .01 second triumph is one of the closest swims in the history of the event. There have been two recorded ties. Clarke Scholes of the U.S. won by a judges decision over Japan’s Hiroshi Suzuki in 1952 as both clocked 57.4s. Meanwhile, John Devitt and Lance Larson of the U.S. tied with 55.2s in 1960 with judges awarding the decision to Devitt. The win gave Adrian his first individual Olympic medal of any kind as he added it to his collection of a gold from the 2008 400 free relay and silver from the 2012 400 freestyle relay.
Canada’s Brent Hayden picked up bronze in 47.80, which is his country’s first medal in the event’s history, and Hayden’s first Olympic medal. He tied for the world title in the event at the 2007 World Championships, and took second at the 2011 World Championships. He now has a 100 free medal of every color in international competition.
France’s Yannick Agnel, who dominated the anchor leg of the men’s 400-meter freestyle to solidify his country’s win, could not replicate that swim with a fourth-place 47.84. The Netherlands’ Sebastiaan Verschuren took fifth in 47.88, while defending bronze medalist Cesar Cielo of Brazil wound up sixth in 47.92. Cuba’s Hanser Garcia (48.04) and Russia’s Nikita Lobintsev (48.44) earned seventh and eighth.
LONDON, England, July 31. AUSTRALIA’s James Magnussen bounced back from missing the podium in the men’s 400-meter freestyle relay with a sterling semifinal time to lead the way in the men’s 100-meter freestyle at the 2012 London Olympics.USA’s Nathan Adrian clocked a 47.97 during the second semifinal heat for the second seed. That swim is just off his relay leadoff of 47.89 from the men’s 400-meter freestyle relay. He’s looking for his first individual Olympic medal after earning gold on the men’s 400 free relay in 2008 and silver on that relay this year. He finished sixth in the event at the 2011 World Championships.
Magnussen charted a strong 47.63 in semis, besting Pieter van den Hoogenband’s Olympic textile best of 47.84 set at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Magnussen, the defending world champion who has the overall textile best to his name with a 47.10, is looking for his first Olympic medal. He’s also looking to become Australia’s first gold medalist in the event since Mike Wenden topped the 100 free back in 1968.
Cuba’s Hanser Garcia, who has built a name as a darkhorse medal candidate throughout the swimming blogosphere, realized some of that hyped potential with a third-seeded time of 48.04. His country has only won two medals in the past with Neisser Bent and Rodolfo Falcon having earned medals in the men’s 100 back.
The Netherlands’ Sebastiaan Verschuren clinched the fourth seed with a 48.13, while defending bronze medalist and world-record holder Cesar Cielo checked in with a 48.17 for the fifth seed. Canada’s Brent Hayden (48.21), France’s Yannick Agnel (48.23) and Russia’s Nikita Lobintsev (48.38) also made the finale. USA’s Cullen Jones missed out with a 14th-place 48.60.
LONDON, England, July 31. Team USA’s Nathan Adrian, following up on a strong leg in the men’s 400-meter freestyle relay, raced to a strong time to lead the men’s 100-meter free prelims at the 2012 London Olympics.South Africa’s Gideon Louw raced to second in 48.29. He’s following the South African legacy of Roland Schoeman, who took silver in this event in 2004. It will be his second semifinal action in his career after making semis of the 50 free at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Adrian clocked a time of 48.19 for the top seed heading into semis. That swim nearly eclipsed his top time in textile of 48.05 from the 2011 World Championships. Adrian, a two-time Olympic relay medalist, is gunning for his first individual Olympic medal. He also would like to become the first American to win the sprint crown since Matt Biondi won gold in the event in 1988.
The Netherlands’ Sebastiaan Verschuren posted a 48.37 for the third seed, giving his country hope to return the Olympic gold medal that Pieter van den Hoogenband won twice in a row in 2000 and 2004. Australia’s James Magnussen, looking to shake off a disappointing outing in the men’s 400-meter freestyle relay, qualified fourth in 48.38.
“I took a step in the right direction this morning,” Magnussen said. “I took a fair hit in the relay. I’m trying to bounce back this morning. It was a good swim, I think. (The Australian team failing to win a medal in the 400 free relay) is kind of motivating, but it’s more that I’m trying to put it out my memory. It’s one of my first failures since I broke on to the international scene.”
Canada’s Brent Hayden (48.53), Cayman Islands’ Brett Fraser (48.54), Belgium’s Pieter Timmers (48.54) and Russia’s Nikita Lobintsev (48.60) made up the rest of the top eight.
USA’s Cullen Jones qualified ninth in 48.61, while world-record holder and defending bronze medalist Cesar Cielo tied Poland’s Konrad Czerniak for 10th with matching 48.67s.
“It was a hard heat,” Cielo said. “Swimming is already hard and now I just want to try to fix my rhythm. I qualified and that’s what I wanted. Now it is a matter of cutting some 100th of seconds. [Agnel] is my favorite, he is the guy to win the gold medal. He had a great 200m (freestyle). He swam great in the relay. It is going to be very tough to stop Agnel and Magnussen.”
Cielo was also asked about Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen.
“I am not a girl and I don’t do the 400m but I wouldn’t like to swim against her,” Cielo said.
Australia’s James Roberts (48.93), France’s Yannick Agnel (48.93), France’s Fabien Gilot (48.95), Cuba’s Hanser Garcia (48.97) and Cayman Islands’ Shaune Fraser (48.99) rounded out the semifinal field. Agnel, France’s 400 freestyle relay anchor hero, who also won the 200 free, is looking for his third medal this week.
“I didn’t sleep much last night,” Agnel said. “I feel like an alien. I knew it would be tough to do but I have got all day to recover. I will wait until the end of the week to take everything on board.”