LONDON (July 29, 2012) – Brittany MacLean of Etobicoke, Ont., completed an impressive Olympic Games debut on Sunday placing seventh in the women’s 400-metre freestyle in swimming action.
Camille Muffat of France won the gold medal in an Olympic record 4:01.45, Allison Schmitt of the U.S., was second in 4:01.77 and Rebecca Adlington of Britain third in 4:03.01.
MacLean, 18, finished in 4:06.24 missing her Canadian record of 4:05.06 set in the morning preliminaries.
”I knew I was in a really tough field and I would be in a battle,” said MacLean. ”I wasn’t completely successful with staying with the pack as I wanted to but I fought to the finish. I’ll take seventh place at the Olympics.”
In the women’s 100 breaststroke semi-final, Tera Van Beilen of Oakville, Ont., tied for the eighth best time overall with South African Alia Atkinson. The pair later raced in a swim off to determine who got the last spot for Monday’s final and Atkinson won in 1:06.79. Van Beilen, who clocked 1:07.73 in the swim off, officially places ninth.
”It was mentally hard coming off a race knowing you had to do it again,” said Van Beilen. ”I tried to get my head in the right place but it was a hard turnaround. I gave it everything I had in the pool. I still have more races to look forward too.”
Jillian Tyler of Calgary was 14th overall.
In the women’s 100 backstroke semifinals, Julia Wilkinson of Stratford, Ont., missed a berth in the final by one spot clocking the ninth best time overall in 59.91. She was just 0.09 seconds off the eighth best time.
”I just tried to get up and race,” said an emotional Wilkinson. ”I did everything I could to not be too nervous. I knew it was going to be tight to get into the final. It’s heartbreaking but you have to believe you can win or else it’s impossible. It’s the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life. It’s horrible to be so close.”
Sinead Russell of Burlington, Ont., was 16th overall.
In the men’s 100 backstroke semifinals, Charles Francis of Cowansville, Que., ranked 15th overall.
”The time just wasn’t there,” said Francis. ”But I can’t complain. Making the semis at the Olympics is pretty good. To reach the final, which was my goal, I probably needed to break the Canadian record.”
Canadians in action in Monday’s preliminaries are: Barbara Jardin of Montreal and Samantha Cheverton of Pointe-Claire, Que., in the 200 freestyle (in the same heat) and Erica Morningstar in the 200 IM for the women.
For the men, David Sharpe of Halifax swims in the 200 butterfly.