Michael Cowley August 04, 2012
Cate Campbell ... missed out on the final. Photo: Reuters
She might have missed out on the 50m final, but Cate Campbell will go home with an Olympic gold medal. It tempers her disappointment, but she still feels an opportunity has been wasted this week in London.
After being a part of the gold medal-winning 4 x 100m freestyle relay team on Saturday, Campbell was struck down by a gastro virus during the week, and as a result had to withdraw from the 100m freestyle. According to coaches, her form had been exceptional leading into the Games and she was given a strong chance of featuring in the medals.
‘‘It’s hugely disappointing,’’ she said of missing the 100m. ‘‘Especially after we all did so well in the relay that first day. We are really only in form twice a year and it seems like just a really wasted opportunity I guess.
‘‘There was nothing I could do about it. I just had to grit my teeth and watch them [the finalists] last night and Mel [Schlanger, who ws fourth] did incredibly well. I was cheering her from the couch.’’
Campbell was back in the pool on Friday for the 50m freestyle heats, and along with her sister Bronte, she advanced to the evening semi-finals.
As they tend to be, the two sisters were almost inseparable. They qualified in ninth and 10th spots, Bronte faster with 24.87s, Cate 24.94.
Bronte got the family honours in the semis, as well finishing equal 10th in 24.94 with Cate 13th in 25.01.
‘‘It was pretty great being in same heat as my sister. I’ve been racing her for years,’’ Bronte said. ‘‘She’s sort of my comfort, she brings a bit of normality to the scene. It was just like another swim meet, just a lot louder.’’
Cate explained she came down with the gastro bug on Wednesday morning and it got progressively worse. She says she feels a bit better now, but not quite back to normal.
‘‘I wouldn’t say quite back to normal,’’ she said.
‘‘You can’t spend two days lying on your back, then running up and down to the toilet every now and again, normal. It’s only 50m, I’m fortunate I’m not a distance swimmer otherwise I would be in more trouble.
‘‘I’m giving everything I got every time I get in the pool. I’m giving 100 per cent but whether I’m giving 100 per cent of 70 per cent or a 100 per cent of 80 per cent, I’m not sure. I’m just doing my best.
‘‘I’m giving it my best shot and if that’s good enough then it is, and if it isn’t, I’m still an Olympic gold medallist.’’
Australia’s women’s medley relay team of Emily Seebohm, Leisel Jones, Alicia Coutts and Brittany Elmslie qualified fastest for Saturday night’s final with a slick 3min.55.42s performance.
Schlanger will come into the team in place of Elmslie to swim freestyle and the team have bright medal prospects. They will have to be at their best to beat the strong American team though which rested their likely final swimmers in the heat, and qualified fourth quickest.
In the men’s event Australian quartet of Hayden Stoeckel, Matt Targett, Brenton Rickard and Tommaso D’Orsogna are safely into Saturday’s final in fourth position. Christian Sprenger and James Magnussen will come into the team for Rickard and D’Orsogna.
The United States will clearly be the team to beat, but the Australians have solid prospects for a medal.
In the men’s 1500m, and event Australia has won in four of the past five Olympics, Australia won’t have a finalist for the first time since the 1988 Seoul Olympics after the sole representative Jarrod Poort clocked 15min.20.82s in the heats to be 18th best.
The leading qualifier for the final and odds-on favourite is China’s Sun Yang who posted a slashing 14min.43.25s heat swim.