It has already been a memorable week in the pool, with Michael Phelps’ swim in the relay realising gold and a record 19th Olympic Swimming medal, while Chinese schoolgirl Ye Shiwin has been making waves of her own with some record-breaking performances.
Phelps of course was gracious in defeat in the 200m Butterfly Final on Tuesday, an event that the American has made his own at the past two Olympic Games, but he will bid to put matters right in the 100m when the competition gets under way on Thursday.
The ‘Baltimore Bullet’ as he is known, set an Olympic record of 50.58 in this event in Beijing, and went on to lower that time when clocking 49.82 in Rome the following year. True, he has not been anywhere near those times in the intervening period, but the big stage brings out the best in the greatest Olympian of all time, and he will line up in heat six out of lane 4 on the back of the fastest qualifying time of 50.71.
Right next to Phelps in lane five will be the Serbian Milorad Cavic, whom the American beat narrowly to the gold in Beijing, after which Phelps complained about his opponent’s, as he saw it, superior swimwear. Cavic will be gunning for revenge, and has been in good form in the fly, winning the event at the European Championships in Hungary earlier this year.
The heat before will see Phelps’ conqueror in the 200m, Chas le Closs of South Africa bid to make it through from lane seven after a moderate 52.17 in qualifying. The Pole Konrad clocked 51.15 to grab lane four and may be a dark horse in this, his first Olympics.
British hopes rest with Michael Rock in heat four-a time of 52.02 puts him in lane six, while back in Phelps’ heat Antony James faces a tough task from lane seven.
All in all, this is an event that should provide Phelps with yet another gold medal to add to the tally.
In the women’s section, all eyes will be on Rebecca Adlington as she begins her attempt to retain the 800m Freestyle gold that she won in Beijing. Mansfield’s finest has got lane four after swimming 8:17.51 in qualifying, and a repeat of that should easily be enough to see her make the semis.
Her main rivals include Lotte Friis of Denmark, third to Adlington in Beijing, and who went on to capture the world championships in Rome. Her last big win was over 1500m in Shangai last year, but she will be a threat, as will the American Kate Ledecky if her pre-heat time of 8:19.78 is anything to go by.
However, after claiming bronze in the 400m and losing her crown in the process, Adlington is in no mood to let this one slip, and is the one to beat.
Olympic Swimming Odds
Team GB have a couple of hopefuls in the Men’s Olympic swimming with Ladbrokes placing Michael Rock 50/1 and Anthony James at 100/1 in the Men’s Butterfly where a triumphant Michael Phelps is expected to add to his record breaking gold tally. Women’s Olympic Swimming has more medal expectation for Team GB as Rebbeca Adlington fights to repeat her 800m success in Beijing by claiming gold in this years competition, Ladbrokes has her as favourite at 4/9.
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