Thumbs up … Australia’s Melanie Schlanger after winning her heat.LONDON: Her teammate Cate Campbell may have been missing through illness, but Melanie Schlanger proudly flew the flag for Australia in the 100m freestyle heats on Wednesday morning, qualifying for the evening semi-finals as the second fastest.
Campbell was hit by a gastro bug on Monday, and the decision was made for her to miss the 100m heats and hopefully be able to recover in time for the 50m freestyle on Friday.
In her absence, her gold medal-winning relay teammate clocked a slick 53.50s to be only behind China Yi Tang (53.28s) in qualifying times for the semi-finals.
In her heat Schlanger also claimed the scalp of the event favourite Ranomi Kromowidjojo (53.66s), but the Dutchwoman can be expected to go much faster in the semis as she has a 52.75s performance this year to her name.
‘‘It felt pretty good. I wanted to sneak under 54s this morning so to go 53.5s is pretty good,’’ Schlanger said. ‘‘I guess my second 50m is always my strength and I didn’t quite give it 100 per cent this morning but it’s still encouraging.’’
Schlanger was asked if everything was now a bonus after winning the gold in the 4 x 100 freestyle relay on Saturday night. ‘‘Yeah, but I’d love to be up there individually as well,’’ she said. ‘‘We’ll have to wait and see.’’
She also confirmed she will be swimming in the final of the 4 x 200m freestyle relay tonight. She has a good break of 75 minutes between the 100m freestyle semi-final and the relay final. As to who her partners will be remains a mystery until an hour before the finals’ session.
Bronte Barratt, who claimed bronze in the individual event on Tuesday, and who was in the 4 x 200m team which won gold in Beijing, will be there, and while Kylie Palmer has been struggling this week in both the 400m and 200m freestyle events, she is also expected to make the team. Before London it was expected Stephanie Rice would be the fourth member, but her battles at the Games meant she was probably going to be overlooked this time around.
The other spot is expected to go to the best performer out of the heats, Brittany Elmslie, who with Schlanger, Campbell and Alicia Coutts won relay gold on night one.Elmslie clocked 1min.57.50s off the blocks. The next fastest with the adjustment for the flying start was Blair Evans who clocked 1min.56.99s but 0.7s is added to make the adjustment, which means she was outside Elmslie’s figures.
‘‘I’ve been itching since day one to get out there and swim for Australia again,’’ Elmslie said. Asked if she had come off the high of winning gold on night one: ‘‘The first couple of days I was still running on a high, but by yesterday I was normal and tried to stay focused for today.’’
Australia qualified fastest for the final with an overall time of 7min.49.44s. The United States were second with a 7min.50.75s effort, but they will be bolstered by the addition of 200m individual gold medal winner Allison Schmitt and teenage superstar Missy Franklin and are the favourites for gold.
In the men’s 200m backstroke, Mitch Larkin advanced from the heats into the evening semi-finals with a 1min.57.53s swim. Matson Lawson though could manage only 21st with his 1min.58.92s swim.It was the same story in the men’s 200m individual medley with one Australian getting through and one missing out.
Daniel Tranter qualified in 13th with a 1min.59.70s swim, while Jayden Hadler was 31st in 2min.01.54s.In the women’s 200m breaststroke Sally Foster qualified 10th in 2min.26.04s, while Tessa Wallace squeaked into the semis in 16th place with a 2min.2min.26.94s.ends
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