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Men’s Relay Disappointing, Sprenger and Coutts Win Medals

Alicia Coutts with Bronze Medal

There has been a major upset at the Aquatic Centre, with Australia’s men’s 4×100 freestyle relay team disappointing an entire nation by placing fourth in a race they were expected to dominate.

In an event that America has won eight times previously, France took the gold, but all discussion will revolve around Australia’s terrible result.

James Magnussen’s arrogance before the race has made him look foolish, with the 100m world champion swimming a 48.03 and to make matters worse, was not even able to lead after the first leg.

“I have no response,” said a dejected Magnussen. “I don’t know what happened.”

Given the hype and their overall confidence, the unsatisfactory result has placed a big question mark over Magnussen and James Roberts’ ability to refocus for the individual 100m freestyle event.

All swimmers expressed their bitter disappointment and were unable to pinpoint where they went wrong.
Magnussan’s sluggish start put the Australians behind the eight ball from the start which would have sent a wave of panic through the team.

“It didn’t really go to plan,” said Matt Targett after the race.

On a more positive note, Alicia Coutts has continued her excellent form in the pool with Australia’s first bronze medal of the Games in the women’s 100m butterfly.
Her time of 56.94 was just slower than her semi-final time, but the Brisbane-born swimmer was more than content with a medal in her first Olympics.

“I’m happy with a medal but disappointed with the swim,” said Coutts.

Coutts made the comment after the race that she choked on water in the penultimate 10 metres of the race, which may have been the difference between bronze and silver.

The five-time Commonwealth gold medallist will now turn her attention to the 200m individual medley, where she is rated a big chance of a spot on the dais.
USA’s Dana Vollmer (55.98) won the event in world record time, becoming the first woman to swim below 56 seconds.

Australia’s first silver medal at the Games has been won by Christian Sprenger in the men’s 100m breaststroke.
An emotional Sprenger recorded a 58.93 which outdid all expectations.

“I knew I had a good race in me,” said Sprenger. “I’m so stoked to get a medal…I really executed my race perfectly.”

Sprenger’s reaction was emblematic of the Olympic spirit, bursting into tears after seeing his results on the scoreboard.

Such excitement could not be contained as he fist pumped with a grin from ear to ear.

Cameron van der burgh (58.43) took out the gold medal in world record time and in the process became the first male swimmer to win three consecutive gold medals in the same event.

Sprenger’s efforts will spur on Emily Seebohm who qualified fastest in the women’s 100m backstroke.

Her time of 58.39 is far superior to that of her main rival Missy Franklin who clocked 59.12.

Australia’s Belinda Hocking (59.79) will also contest the final after progressing as seventh fastest.

Leisel Jones has become the first Australian female swimmer to make four Olympic finals in the same event after progressing fifth fastest in the women’s 100m breaststroke.

An outside chance of a medal, Jones’ determination could not be undermined in a tough field as she touched the wall in a pleasing time of 1:06.81.

Jones was ecstatic post-race after a performance that will surprise her pre-Games doubters.

“I’m so excited to be here and make a final,” the 26-year old said. “I’m so proud to be Australian.”

Australian champion Leiston Pickett (1:07.74) finished sixth in her semi-final and will not contest the final.

Thomas Fraser-Holmes will join a star-studded field in the final of the men’s 200m freestyle in lane eight after qualifying in 1:46.61.

The 20-year old has made his second final in as many days which is a tremendous achievement after backing up from two 400m swims yesterday.

“I’m so happy with that…my coach and I decided to go after it,” said Fraser-Holmes.

His coach Dennis Cottrell, who has mentored the likes of Grant Hackett and Daniel Kowalski, also looks after Sun Yang (1:45.61) who is the fastest qualifier in the event.

Lane eight will be occupied by Hayden Stoeckel in the final of the men’s 100m backstroke after the Australian swam a 53.74 to make his second Olympic final and is looking to reproduce his bronze medal form from Beijing.

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