Over to you, boys.
Whilst all the pre-Games Olympic hype surrounded Australia’s men’s 4x100m freestyle group, the females got the jump on them to declare the nation’s 1st gold medal in London on Saturday evening.
The opening evening of swimming was starting up to search grim for Australia, specifically after Stephanie Rice could finish only sixth, surrendering her 400m personal medley title and world record to Chinese 16-year-old Ye Shiwen.
Earlier, Thomas-Fraser Holmes had completed seventh and Ryan Napoleon eighth in the 400IM and 400m freestyle finals respectively.
But an all-Queensland quartet of Alicia Coutts, Cate Campbell, Brittany Elmslie and Melanie Schlanger stepped in to upset favourites the Netherlands and steal a gold medal head coach Leigh Nugent described as a “bonus”.
Australia’s guys are hot favourites to comply with suit on Sunday and Campbell joked the females had “offered them something to achieve for”.
“They’re reigning globe champions but we’re reigning Olympic champions. They will have to wait to join us,” Campbell said.
Australia clocked an Olympic record of 3 minutes and 33.15 seconds to come in ahead of the Dutch (3:33.79) with the US (three:34.24) in third.
Australia’s decision to leave veteran swimmer Libby Trickett out of the group was vindicated as 18-year-old Elmslie did nicely to give Australia a strong chance heading into the last 100m.
But Schlanger was the star of the show as she clocked a brilliant final leg of 52.65 to fend off Dutch star Romy Kromowidjojo, who sizzled house in 51.93.
“I was really in a position to place collectively a very good race and that’s the only way Olympic gold medals are won,” Schlanger explained.
Trickett will nonetheless get her fourth Olympic gold medal, with all seven swimmers to obtain a single after Emily Seebohm and Yolane Kukla also took element in the heats.
Elmslie paid tribute to the veteran, whose campaign in London is over getting not certified for any other occasions.
“Libby’s this kind of a wonderful athlete and she’ll often have earned the respect of Australia as she’s carried out everything in the previous and she’s had the expertise,” Elmslie said.
“I just did my personal point in the heat and the coaches made a decision the finish choice and I’m just pleased that I could to Australia proud.”
Nugent extra: “Getting a gold medal – and it’s truly stealing it from the favourites, which is most likely a bonus for us.
Coutts’ sturdy lead-out efficiency followed an outstanding efficiency in the 100m butterfly semi-finals, wherever she clocked a PB of 56.85 to qualify 2nd quickest behind American Dana Vollmer (56.36).
Fraser-Holmes (4:13.49) was upbeat regardless of finishing seventh in the men’s 400IM, won by Ryan Lochte as fellow US star Michael Phelps missed a medal.
“I’m proud of it. There had been two of the all-time greats out there,” he explained.
Ryan Napoleon (three:49.25), too, mentioned he would consider positives out of finishing final in the 400m last behind Chinese star Sun Yang.
Australia will have two representatives in Sunday’s 100m breaststroke final following Brenton Rickard (59.50) and Christian Sprenger (59.61) qualified 3rd and fourth quickest respectively.