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Adrian Builds A Wall Of Speed

Jul 31, 2012

Olympic Games, London, Day 4 heats:

Heading to the midway point of the meet and some are struggling while others are just getting going. When lesser teams start to feel the fatigue of what is the harshest environment of them all in many respects (the dimension of all things is greater at the Games, be it transport, food halls, distance to walk, numbers of fans, crowd noise, media, lights, camera, action and so on), the big guns plough on. Take the US: they have had a few knocks this week but make no mistake they intend to remain the superpower. In the 4x200m relay this morning, minus Phelps, Lochte, Berens, they clocked a time that many will not match tonight in the final.

Here's the spirit we're talking about: Ready to take it on today. Let's get it. #TeamUSA !- Ryan Lochte, defeated but not demoralised, and ready to step up to the plate once more.

The end result of this meet will hang on who now has the spirit, the strength, the wherewithal and the guts to get up each morning for the next four and treat it like a new dawn.  

Men's 100m freestyle

Nathan Adrian (USA) threw down the gauntlet in heat 6, a 48.19, off a 22.99 split, delivered after he eased up in the last few swings of his stroke. Next in came Gideo Louw (RSA), on 48.29, Brett Fraser (CAY), on 48.54, Nikita Lobintsev (RUS) on 48.60 and Cesar Cielo (BRA) on 48.67. Filippo Magnini (ITA) was gone in 49.18, Adam Brown (GBR) in 49.20.

Next up, out on the wing of heat 7, Pieter Timmers (BEL) tipped in a 48.54 ahead of Konrad Czerniak (POL), on 48.67. James The Rocket Roberts and Yannick Warrior Of Gaul Agnel clocked 48.93 - would it be good enough? Just. 

In the last heat, Sebastiaan Verschuren (NED) pipped James The Missile Magnussen (AUS) in 48.37 to 47.38, with Brent Hayden (CAN) on 48.53. The semis were locked at 48.99, 49.02  17th, meaning Agnel and Roberts made it by 0.09sec. Tight.

Magnussen said: "It was good. I am still trying to recover from not getting a medal in the relay and trying to stay positive. I have spent a lot of time with my coach one to one, thinking about what went wrong. It didn't matter what anyone said, I gave 100% on the night." On feeling pressure before the heat, he added: "The swim this morning has been very positive so I have to stay relaxed and focused and hopefully I will swim well tonight. My pride was hurt last night and I think a lot of people think they can beat me know."

Roberts said: "I am pretty happy this morning as morning swims are always pretty tough."

Women's 200m butterfly

In lane 4 of heat 3, world champion Jiao Liuyang (CHN), in lane 5, world silver medallist Ellen Gandy (GBR), 0.04sec apart  in Shanghai. Gandy got overexcited this morning and cracked out ahead, the rest shadowing her. But by the last turn, the Melbourne-based Brit was struggling. Jiao came off the wall well and sped on to a 2:07.15 win ahead of Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 2:07.75, and Cammile Adams, on 2:0818. Gandy was fifth in 2:09.92 and left to wait to see whether that would make the cut. 

It turned out to be shy of what was needed, another British medal target missed well before the final this time, a 2:09.33 by 2004 Olympic champion Otylia Jedrzejczak (POL) the last time in the top 16. On a list of 12 medal targets cited by Britain on the eve of the Games, four have now passed by at these home Games, one ticked with a big smile from Rebecca Adlington in the 400m freestyle on the way to the 800m on Friday.  

The last heat of the morning saw Kathleen Hersey (USA) clock 2:06.41 ahead of Britain's second hope, Jemma Lowe, on 2:07.64, and Zsuzsanna Jakabos (HUN) on 2:07.79.

Lowe said: "I'm really happy I've made it to the next round, that was the aim this morning. It was the best (time) I've done in the morning." Asked about her teammate's misery, Lowe showed the support you would expect, saying: "I just blacked out and focused on myself. Everyone has their ups and downs. I'm sure she gave it her best this morning."

Canada's Audrey Lacroix made it through to the semi-final in 15thn place in 2:09.25.

Men's 200m breaststroke

Looking smooth in style and long in stroke, Scott Dickens (CAN) won heat 2 in 2:10.95 to set a strong pace for the leaders.

Next up, the water warmed up with world champion Daniel Gyurta (HUN), looking powerful and confident but chased by Michael Jamieson (GBR), on 2:08.71, the Brit celebrating a national record of 2:08.98, Scott Weltz (USA) on 2:09.67. Ryo Tateishi (JPN) responded with a 2:09.37 win in the next heat ahead of Clark Burckle (USA), on 2:09.55 as the last man inside 2:10.

The sub-2:10 club this morning was completed by Andrew Willis (GBR), on 2:09.33 (matching his English record), a touch ahead of reigning champion Kosuke Kitajima (JPN), on 2:09.43, the semis locked in 2:11.66.

Men's 4x200m freestyle

France and Germany set the pace at 7:09.18 and 7:09.23 respectively in the first heat, before the United States stamped its foot down with a dominant 7:06.75 in the last of two heats ahead of Australia, on 7:10.50, and Britain, on 7:10.70. Next home came China, 7:11.35, and Russia, a nation that won the crown back in 1992, on 7:11.86. That was not good enough to make the final in 2012, the first heat including Hungary on 7:11.64 and New Zealand on 7:11.51.

The US splits: Charlie Houchin, 1:48.22; Matthew McLean, 1:46.68; Davis Tarwater, 1:46.33; Conor Dwyer, 1:45.52.